Young patient with colon cancer symptoms

Last Modified: April 25, 2004

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Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

I am 25 years old. I have tested positive for blood in my stool and my doctor has recommended that I have a colonoscopy. He told me that I definitely have small hemorrhoids. Would you consider me at risk for colon cancer?  My symptoms have been stomach pain, extreme constipation and tiredness.



Carolyn Vachani RN, MSN, AOCN, OncoLink's Medical Correspondent, responds:

As a 25 year old, you are at a pretty low risk of having colon cancer, but the risk is not zero. You have not provided information on your family history of colon cancer which can impact your risk. This is not to say that no family history means you cannot have colon cancer, but it is a risk factor to consider. You are smart to listen to your body’s symptoms and pursue a diagnosis.

Keep in mind that several gastrointestinal disorders can cause bleeding, constipation, and stomach pains – including hemorrhoids, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, and irritable bowel disease. Based on your symptoms, it seems reasonable for you to be seen and followed by a gastroenterologist. That physician can then determine the best diagnostic test for you and go from there.

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