Patient Comments: Colon Cancer - Diagnosis


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Comment from: NICKOLAS , 0-2 Male (Caregiver) Published: June 23

I thought I was going through menopause because I was having problems with multiple periods. I had four blood transfusions. Then I developed an ulcer with severe knifing abdominal pain and was experiencing constipation. Finally, blood showed up in one of my bowel movements. I was too weak to call my doctor. I had always checked my stools because I'm from a family of three generations of colon cancer survivors. I left the stool in the toilet overnight.

Comment from: dixie, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 05

I was complaining to my primary Veterans Affairs doctor about bleeding from the rectum and other things. After a year a mass started coming out of my rectum so she referred me to the gastrointestinal department, telling them no big hurry. After 3 surgeries they said I was cancer free but I kept complaining and now my stool was coming out as if squeezed through a small opening. My new primary physician put me in the hospital right away, I have stage 3 colon cancer.

Comment from: diana, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 26

By chance the diagnosis of my colon cancer was established because the actually listened to me and was prompt to send a referral to the hospital, because I had an ultrasound of my liver and they found some lesions. Afterwards he sent me for a colonoscopy and in a month I was having chemotherapy. My first appointment at the open clinic was on September 4th. By October 19 I was on Folfox 6. I had a break in the treatment, and by March 14th, 2018 I was on Folfiri and Avastin. It is a tough treatment because I have colorectal cancer stage 4. I am 44 years old, and hoping that in my next CT scan the tumors in my liver reduce enough so they can do surgery. I am hoping for the best.

Comment from: dede, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 19

I was 39 and thought I had the stomach flu, I could keep nothing down. I had constant waves of pain in the center of my abdomen. The gastrologist first said I was depressed and prescribed tranquilizers. The following week I consulted him again and was admitted for upper/lower gastrointestinal test, which indicated a bowel blockage. He told me to schedule an office appointment for the following week and discharged me from the hospital. Three nights later my husband rushed me to the emergency room because of vomiting black material and being disoriented. Emergency surgery by surgeon on call discovered golf-ball size tumor at lower end of ascending colon. I was told I had stage 4 cancer and had been very near death. Surgery was followed by 6 months chemotherapy with 5FU, then colonoscopies every year. I am now 69 years old and having some discomfort at the junction of the ilium/transverse colon. My suggestion: find a doctor who will listen to you!

Comment from: Jonnyj787, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: June 15

I had gastroenteritis three times in 6 months, and was feeling cold. Blood test found anemia, I was sent for colonoscopy, and a mass was found in caecum. I had right hemi colon section, and will have chemotherapy for the colon cancer if needed.

Comment from: OurUniverse6714, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: June 26

I am trying to comfort my mother, she is 56 with end stage colon cancer. I have been told when she leaves the hospital to have hospice prepared in the home. She fought for 2 years. I am 31. I am not the slightest bit ready for this even though I have known.

Comment from: colomin2016, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 14

My colon cancer diagnosis was established by colonoscopy biopsy followed by lower gastro intestinal CT with contrast, and confirmed by urgent surgery.

Comment from: Sophie, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 16

After months of not feeling well, and being diagnosed with everything from anemia to vitamin D deficiency, I bled extensively during a bowel movement. But only one time! I was sent for a colonoscopy, and a mass was discovered which was determined to be stage 3B cancer of the sigmoid colon.

Comment from: Mm, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 14

It took the doctors and the hospital 3 months to figure out I didn't have gastritis, but stage 4 small colon cancer. I had terrible pain in my abdomen, and vomiting but no blood in either. I had a general surgeon do surgery and it was supposed to be laparoscopic but ended up being exploratory. They had to remove a foot and a half of my small colon (doing a resection), my appendix, one ovary, and part of the large colon. I was on Folfox for 3 months and then Folfirinox for 4 months to try and get ready for surgery and the HIPEC (hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy) procedure. I was just told I am not a good candidate for this surgery because the surgeon did not see enough response with the chemotherapy. Now my oncologist is putting me on Erbitux and a cancer cell blocker. I am nervous because of possible side effects!


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Comment from: Dennis, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: December 03

My wife was diagnosed with stage one colon cancer the doctors said he got all the cancer out after removing about twelve inches of her colon. Thinking she was cancer free we went home very happy. About two years later she starting having pain in her left pelvic area. After many doctors’ appointments they did a colonoscopy, it was clear, there was not even a polyp. But the pain was there and severe so he ordered a CAT scan. The next day her family doctor called and said to go to the cancer center for a PET scan. The scan showed two large masses in her pelvic area. After surgery and lab test her colon cancer spread to her cervix. She is now in chemotherapy treatment. Her numbers are good but they go up and down a lot.

Comment from: Tracy, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 27

My age is 31, and I had blood in stool. I never would've thought polyps or colon cancer, no family members had it. I had polyp in lower colon, had a little bit of cancer in the polyp (not in base). I faithfully go get my colonoscopies and have even taught my grandkids to check the stool out!

Comment from: Beechwood boy, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: November 20

I felt cold. I went to my doctor and he did a CBC (complete blood count). I was anemic. He sent me for a colonoscopy where they discovered my tumor. I was at stage 3B colon cancer. I had surgery and FOLFOX4 chemotherapy. I’ve been cancer free for almost 8 years.

Comment from: Donna, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 22

Shortness of breath and strange sensations in my lower legs sent me to my internist. He ordered cardiac ultrasound and blood work. Ultrasound was normal. Blood showed very low iron level. Having a family history of colon cancer, I went to my gastroenterologist, who gave me two iron infusions, and a fecal occult test; test was negative. He ordered another one, and again negative. Although one year early, I had colonoscopy/endoscopy. Colonoscopy revealed cancer of my ileocecal valve (lower right, near appendix). I had 12 inches of my ascending colon remover laparoscopically. I had gene testing for Lynch syndrome, lymph node removal, PET scan, and all normal or negative. No treatment whatsoever. I am having a six month follow up colonoscopy in two weeks, and of course, worried sick! If I had not found out my iron level was low, I'd have a very different story!

Comment from: KK, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 29

I was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer, which had spread to the lymph nodes, in 2005. After extensive surgery and one year of chemotherapy using leucovorin, 5 FU, oxaliplatin, Avastin, and irinotecan, I was in complete remission! I continue to remain in remission and have scans every four months. Even at diagnosis, my CEA levels were very normal. It is a miracle, and I am very grateful!

Published: June 30

I was 33 years old when I began noticing blood in my stool. I went to my family doctor and he had ordered an X-ray and CT scan of my abdomen. I was then sent on a 'wild goose chase' of suspicious “masses” that were “found” in my CT scan. Finally after finding out that the 5 cm mass found in my uterus was completely normal (it was just a bag of blood) my OB/GYN asked, why did you have a CT scan in the first place? I told him about my symptoms and he suggested that I get a colonoscopy ASAP. I went back to my family doctor that day and told the receptionist that I wanted a colonoscopy. . .I was told that the person who schedules these tests was on vacation for two weeks and that I'd have to wait. I told her that I'd be looking up “gastroenterologist” in the yellow pages and getting my own appointment. I did just that! I found a wonderful doctor (whose last name begins with A). He gave me an appointment within the week and I had my colonoscopy within two weeks of my initial phone call. I had my colonoscopy completed and saw the tumor with my own eyes, and observed the biopsy (it looked like a little “Pac-Man”). My biopsy did show malignancy, and I was immediately scheduled for my colon resection. After surgery, they found that my lymph nodes were positive for cancer cells, so I had stage III colorectal cancer. I met a wonderful oncologist who explained the six months of chemo and six weeks of radiation that would be necessary for me to undergo in the coming weeks. I opted to have my ovaries moved high within my body so that they wouldn't be “fried” during radiation. So after my second abdominal surgery in two months, I began chemo treatments with oxaliplatin. It was very exhausting, and I slept the weeks I had the treatment. Thankfully, it was given every other week, so I had some “awake” time to spend with my little 4 year old.

Comment from: Cancerous Carol, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 18

I had a barium enema and the rectal cancer ws not detected because the excess barium was sitting in that spot. However, my colonoscopy was put on hold because they couldn't find anything in the barium enema. Right from the start I had ribbons of blood in my stool and after the barium enema, I continued having this blood. My husband called our MLA who gave us a phone number to call. The doctor called this number and I finally got in for a colonoscopy - rectal cancer was detected immediately. Be an advocate for your own health. If I had had the colonoscopy earlier I may have only been stage 1 or 2 - unfortunately I am stage 3.


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Comment from: Nancy, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 05

In July 2008, I had knee replacement surgery and during my recovery, I developed a blood clot. I was put on Coumadin for several months and noticed I was bleeding after two months on Coumadin. The bleeding was excessive, so I went to the ER and found out that I had lost an entire unit of blood. They admitted me to the hospital where I had a colonoscopy. The doctor found three polyps and a tumor. It was malignant. I never felt sick and would never have known about the tumor if I hadn't been on Coumadin and thought the bleeding was related to that blood thinner. I probably would not have bled so soon, and it could have been years before I had shown any symptoms at all. I have very early stage III and look forward to a full recovery with the wonderful surgical and medical staff I have assigned to me. Jesus is the Great Physician and my faith in Him is strong. I know with Jesus and my medical team, complete healing is a fact.

Comment from: Goldie, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: December 12

At the age of 19, I developed stomach cramps and experienced rectal bleeding. I was 20 when I finally went to the doctor and was found to have advanced colon cancer after doing a colonoscopy. I never suffered from fatigue or anything like that; those were my only symptoms. I thought I was doing OK, but I have had a relapse. I'm now 21.

Comment from: Bernadette, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 12

I missed my colonoscopy in the fall of 2006 but made sure I had it done in the fall of 2007. I was concerned because I was tired all the time, but I did have a history of colitis and anemia. I didn't hear anything from my doctor in October, so I assumed all was well. I made travel plans and then in early December, I received that horrible call that I had colon cancer. I live in Kentucky, and it was strongly recommended I travel to Cleveland Clinic. After following my instructions and meeting my surgeon after doing my homework regarding surgery etc., I still did not have all the details I needed. It will be a year in January that I had my large intestine removed and in April had the ileostomy reversed. I need help with diet and figuring out how to prevent leakage with leads to a very secluded life. I've used every ointment on the market. Calmoseptine is the only one that provides me with relief. Subsequently, I still use the restroom a lot. My weight is up and down. I really hate my life right now.

Comment from: Harley Man, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: December 12

My red blood count was way off, and I was sleeping 14 to 16 hours a day. I just did not feel good. I kept going to doctors and complaining. Finally, I found a doctor that would listen. She sent me in for a PET scan and a CT scan, and they found colon cancer. I was operated on in the end of June, and she removed 18 inches of colon. I was lucky because the cancer had not gotten through the wall of the colon, so it hadn’t spread. I didn’t have to do any chemotherapy or radiation.

Comment from: Lookin Good, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: December 12

At the time, I was 32 years old and for years I kept telling doctors I did not feel right. I was told I looked good and to take more vitamins. Years later, I ended up at the hospital needing four units of blood until finally they started listening to me. A few weeks later, a tumor was found on the right side, and I was diagnosed with colon cancer. I began chemo six weeks later. I suffered quite a bit, and I was placed on morphine that did not help the pain. I am finally in remission, but I suffered nerve damage and severe anxiety attacks.

Comment from: Steve, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: November 13

I have had polyps removed periodically since age 27. I had been given a "clean" colonoscopy six years ago and told to schedule another in five years. My most recent colonoscopy and pathology showed stage III colon cancer. I think the previous colonoscopy missed a polyp. I have had a right hemi-colectomy and completed five of my six months of chemo. I ran two marathons in the previous year, and I plan to run the Ironman in Hawaii to celebrate my five year survival. I was 46 at diagnosis. So far, I have been very happy with my semi-colon.

Comment from: k080221, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: November 13

I was only 21 when I was diagnosed with colon cancer. We never expected it. I was young. I never had a colonoscopy or laboratory work before the diagnosis. We just knew it right after I had an abdominal obstruction and went through an emergency EX-Lap. During the operation, my surgeon found a tumor near my ileocecal area. It was already 10 inches in size. We sent the specimen for biopsy. Then, after weeks, the result was positive. It was already stage 3. That was almost two years ago. After I received a year of treatment, I can say I feel better now. I’m not yet a survivor, but I’m better.

Comment from: mapuana, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: September 17

My husband was diagnosis with colon cancer stage IV in March of this year. It also had metastasis to his liver. He was having his yearly physical for work. His blood test results were so low that he was immediately taken to the ER. His only symptoms had been a bit of fatigue. He was admitted to the hospital and the next day had a colonoscopy. After the colonoscopy, it was determined that he had colorectal cancer. He also had a full body scat scan to see if cancer was elsewhere. He had surgery 1 week later for a resection of his colon. One month later chemo started. My husband just completed his 7th series of chemo treatment (Oxaliplatin, Avastin and Xeloda) he is on a 21 day cycle. Avastin was just recently added because his doctors wanted to be sure that the resection had enough time to heal. He just had his first scat scan to see the progress. It was good no new lesions and the tumors on his liver are shrinking. We are very pleased and hopeful.


What are risk factors for developing colon cancer? See Answer
Comment from: Angellface, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 28

I was working as an RN nursing supervisor at a geriatric facility, the midnight shift. I had been complaining of severe fatigue, to the point of falling asleep at work and while driving home in the mornings. I was found to be anemic, so a colonoscopy was performed to find out where the blood loss was, and it was at that time I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer of the left descending colon.

Comment from: Pat, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: March 03

My colon cancer was found after a routine colectomy for fecal irregularity problems.

Comment from: mike, 35-44 Male Published: February 19

I had a colon cancer tumor as big as my heart break through my colon grew into my muscle. That was in 1996. I am cancer free now. Here is how I beat it: 28 treatment of radiation and 7 treatments of chemotherapy.

Published: July 18

I was 48 when I began having stomach upset and change in bowel habits. I thought it was stress and my doctor tested for ulcer, gallbladder and other stress related ailments. Later I began passing blood, but because of my excellent health and lack of family history of polyps, no one suggested I get a colonoscopy for 5 months. That revealed a tennis ball size tumor in the descending colon. Stage III. There were 6 lymph nodes involved, but no penetration of the bowel wall. Go figure. I had 6 months of Zeloda orally and Oxaliplatin IV. Other than gaining 15 pounds during chemo, and a bit of fatigue, I did great. It's been three and a half years and all follow up tests are negative. I’ve yet to loose that 15 pounds.

Published: June 12

After being first diagnosed with IBS, the GP gave me a referral for a colonoscopy. It was then that I was diagnosed with rectal cancer. I also have polyps throughout my colon. I was 35 years old when diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of colorectal type. It was only after extensive surgery that the full extent of the cancer was realized. It had spread to 5 of my lymph nodes and 2 areas outside of my lymph nodes.

Published: June 11

I was initially told I had a hemorrhoid causing rectal bleeding...both by GPs and a GI...I went to a colon rectal surgeon for another opinion only to learn I had a rectal tumor (approx. 1 inch) that was not detected in a colonoscopy three years earlier. The pathology report indicated adenocarcinoma, and I went thru the standard radiation/chemo six-week treatment before surgery. Amazingly, all symptoms (bleeding, constipation, etc.) disappeared from the first day of radiation. I feel great, have no symptoms, and do not appear sick (I am 59 years old).

Published: June 04

At age 52, my husband was diagnosed with colorectal cancer through a routine colonoscopy. After 2 separate negative biopsies, surgery was performed in to remove the mass that was blocking his bowel. The surgeon gave us the horrible news that the tumor was cancerous - Stage 4 and in the lymph nodes - T4/N2/M0 stage. He had simultaneous radiation and chemo for 6 weeks, had 3 weeks off, and then had a cocktail of 5FU and other drugs intravenously thru a port for the next 6 months. Two years later, he has had 2 clean scans. I must say that he (I) changed his entire diet. We juice carrots, celery, and whatever fruits we may have on hand every Sunday. Funnel it into a large wine bottle; use a rubber cork and suction pump to eliminate the air so that he can drink fresh juice every morning. No more red meat, lots of cold water fish, reduced carbs, and lots of whole grain foods. So far, we've beat the odds. Three years to go!!!

Published: May 30

My colon cancer was diagnosed during a colonoscopy. My tumor was in the descending Colon and had penetrated the wall of the colon. I had a CT scan before the scope, which did not show the tumor.

Comment from: Under 50, 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: February 18

My husband's colon cancer was discovered from a colonoscopy. He went to donate blood at a blood donor clinic and was told his iron level was severely low and to see his doctor immediately. Previous to that, he was experiencing shortness of breath and fatigue. He thought it was stress related because he had been so busy in the past year.

Comment from: 65-74 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 06

I took my 66 year old Dad for a colonoscopy this morning, he had been feeling tired a lot; they did a cat scan and found a mass on his liver. They suggested a colonoscopy. This morning the doctor told me my Dad has a mass on his colon which spread to his liver. He is having surgery this week to remove this mass. After reading all your comments, I'm realizing that the doctor never told me anything about a "stage". Another comment makes me think more positive. The same thing happened and after surgery, the chemo helped to shrink the mass on the liver too. I hope my Dad has the same experience. I am scared.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 06

I went to my GP for a check-up. Was found to be anemic, fecal occult blood test was positive for all 3 days. H. pylori was positive, barium swallow suggested something. Well, after being treated for a possible bleeding ulcer, I was still anemic and the FOBT was still positive. Finally I got scooped more than a year later, both ends. (Surgeon was surprised I was not referred to him earlier: anemia and positive FOBT are colon cancer warning signs). A cancerous tumor was found in the ascending colon, no spread to lymph nodes, so Stage II.