thanks for graphic detail I've also had bleeding while I was on tamoxifen and I realised it was to do with constipation but I still had it checked out. Mine was quite slight and associated with straining to go plus it was red rather than darker which apparently is more associated with bowel cancer as the blood from bowel cancer is from further up in the bowel. Anyway I went to have some kind of test which was a bit embarrassing but helped by the consultant saying he'd had it. Didn't really know whether to believe him or not, but it was worth having the test anyway.
Thank -you ladies -for your very helpful replies. This gives me some idea what I need to look for. I have problems with the old internal haemorroids and worry that I might be missing something.I will go and mither my GP about getting tested.Quite apart from the endless worry when you have a BC diagnosis-I do suppose it helps keep you on the look out for other things!
Hi Cherry and bjj,
I really am sorry to hear that you lost both of your mothers through bowel cancer. Unfortunately people (particularly older people) do seem to get very embarrassed about anything to do with bottoms and do not always go to the doctors when they should. One of my old school friends lost her husband to bowel cancer a couple of years ago - I cannot understand why he did not get checked out as there was a family history.
My symptoms were mainly bleeding which I have to say I had on and off for a few years but always thought it was piles. However, things began to change and I thought I could see mucus and the bleeding was more frequent, darker and seemed to have little clots. I also thought the blood was in the stool rather than around it, and then I seemed to have a lot more wind than usual (which I thought was advancing age!). By the time I went to the docs in October, I would have to say that the bleeding was like having a period every time I had a bowel motion but I did not need to use towels in between. I also had stomach ache every time I needed to go.
I have never had a problem with constipation and always went every day but the stools were looser than before which I put down to taking Arimidex as it says in the leaflet that this can be one of the side effects.
So you can see that you can always find an a excuse for every symptom if you wish. I also noticed that I was getting quite tired at times which was the same when I had BC.
Having had my op, visits to the loo are now like they used to be - it is so good not to have the bleeding and I had almost forgotton what proper stools should look like! I do apologize for the graphic detail, but if this helps someone else who is perhaps wondering, it may make them go to their doctor. The main thing is not to be fobbed off like I was. A colonoscopy is a painless procedure(at least it was for me), as you are sedated, and it is the surest way of checking the colon for early signs. As you say they usually start as a polyps.
Cherry Hi Cherry
As you will see from my posting to Jilly, my Mum died of bowel cancer and I have had a pre-cancerous polyp removed from my bowel.
Again I want to emphasise that my Mum had major symptoms for a long time but chose to ignore them.
Don't apologise for being graphic - I think we need to be open about these things in order to help each other.
I was passing quite a bit of mucus when going to the loo - combining that with the irritable bowel syndrome and my family history, my consultant felt that I should have a colonoscopy.
My Mum's symptoms were severe, she was in constant pain - would literally double up sometimes, she was passing so much blood and mucus during the day that she used to wear a sanitary towel to protect her clothes - I still couldn't get her to see a GP - she kept saying that it was just piles.
I have piles and I do bleed occasionally - which does slightly worry me but do feel that (at the moment at least) that is where the blood is coming from. It is bright red and it only appears when I pass an uncomfortable motion (tamoxifen gives me slight constipation). There is a test you can ask your doctor to do - it involves a stool sample and I believe it checks for blood right inside the stool rather than just a smear on the outside. I would strongly recommend you ask for this if you are at all worried. If your GP doesn't want to do it then I think you can get a kit from Boots (under Ã‚Â£20) to DIY. There was a story in our local paper about a man whose GP refused the test, who did his own, got a dodgy result and had an immediate colonoscopy on the back of it. The story had a good ending in that the problem turned out to be benign but he seemed really grateful that he had bothered to help himself and thereby got checked out properly.
If there is anything else you want to ask - please don't hesitate - no matter how graphic!
Almost but not quite! Hi Jilly
My Mum died of bowel cancer 7 years ago it has always played on my mind. I hasten to add that my Mum ignored her symptoms for years which obviously did not help her prognosis.
I suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and because of the problems with this and my Mum's history I had a colonoscopy 4 years ago. A pre-cancerous polyp - a tubular adenoma - was found - my consultant told me it would definitely have turned into cancer within about 8 years if it hadn't been removed. I always thought I would end up getting bowel cancer - bit surprised when 2 years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Definitely a different primary - not that the bowel problem actually was a primary - but it was a bit too close for comfort!
I had a follow-up colonoscopy last summer and this was one was clear - still have to keep being checked out every 3 - 5 years but at least I think it should be discovered early.
This time when I went for the colonoscopy both my consultant and the nurses looking after me said that there was a connection with bowel and breast cancer and I should keep an eye on things. My gynaecologist tells me that both breast cancer and bowel cancer indicate an increased risk of ovarian cancer and I'm getting an increased risk from both ends - so to speak! I now have six monthly scans of my uterus and ovaries. Feel like I am a bit scanned out!
I am so pleased to hear that your bowel cancer was caught early - no lymph node involvement is great. I just want to emphasise to you that my Mum's wasn't - it was so bad when they opened her up that they didn't think she would even survive the op. Your case sounds completely different and I hope you have a complete recovery.
new primary.. Oh Jilly , i'm so sorry , life can be a real bummer (no pun intended!). This is my next big worry, after the worry of a BC recurrence of course-because I know there is a correlation between breast, ovarian and bowel cancers, and since we have breast and ovarian in the family , i'm on the watch for the bowel one. Do you mind if I ask if you had any other symptoms other than rectal bleeding and what nature did it take eg was it fresh blood, in the stool etc -I'm really sorry for being graphic and personal but forwarned is for armed!
New Primary - In the bowel this time I was first diagnosed with BC in 2003aged 57, had wle, no lymph glands affected. Had radiotherapy and have been having annual check ups since with no problems. I also take Arimidex.
In Feb 2006 I visited my GP because of persistent bleeding from back passage.I don't know if they get paid per patient through the door these days, but he did not examine me at all - he almost seemed afraid to touch me! He did, however, have glancing look at my bottom and said it was piles. I suppose that was what I wanted to hear, even though I knew it possibly wasn't and that really he should refer me. I went away armed with prescriptions for piles medication.
Last October, I decided that this could not continue, so went back and saw a different GP who did take the time to examine me and take note of my symptoms. She did refer me, and following sigmoidscope and a colonoscopy, it was confirmed that I had a 3cm tumour in my colon. I had a CT scan which was clear, and surgery to remove offending bit of colon 12th January. No stoma bag(hurray!). 24 lymph glands taken and all were clear. As the tumoour had not broken through the muscle wall, I have been told that I will not need any further treatment, just check ups (which actually seem more thorough than my check ups for BC).
I feel that I have been so lucky(if that is possible in these circumstances), that despite nearly a year delay, I have escaped lymph gland involvement twice. I must have a guardian angel watching over me.
When I was first diagnosed with BC, I was so scared,but this time I seemed a lot calmer and just thought "here we go again". Possibly because I know if it is caught in time it can have a good outcome.
I just wondered if there are any of you out there who have been diagnosed with a completely separate primary cancer. My consultant has told me that there is sometimes a correlation bewtwwen BC and Bowel Cancer, as well as Ovarian Cancer, and that this could have been in place for the last 10 years! Consequently, and because of my age, he has suggested that my children may wish to get checked out when they get to their mid to late forties. There is a history of stomach and bowel cancer on my father's side of the family which I have only just discovered since my own diagnosis.