Viewer Comments: Rectal Cancer - Symptoms

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Rectal Cancer:

Rectal Cancer - Symptoms

What symptoms did you experience with rectal cancer?

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Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 14

I had diarrhea on and off for approximately three months after my 48th birthday. I had lots of indigestion for approximately 3 years prior to this. My GP requested I have a colonoscopy. I had a 4cm tumor. I had surgery, 6 sets of chemotherapy and combined chemo and radiation. I have recently cleared all my yearly screenings. I currently still experience frequent stools due to the damage done to my digestive system as a result of the chemo. In February 2011, I experienced severe pain in the region of my heart. My doctor suggested I have an endoscope. The cause of the pain was due to the presence of thrush in my esophagus caused by the chemotherapy. I am very grateful to be alive, I advise people not to ignore any problem with your digestive system and never ever self diagnose as I did thinking I only had diarrhea.

Comment from: gaye, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 05

I have Parkinson's, and the (med) I take makes me constipated a lot. I have regular scans every 3 years. There is a high rate of bowel cancer in my family, This year It had only been 2 years since my last scan, The only symptoms I had was thin Stools feeling bloated all the time. I told my GP I wanted to go early for a scan , The results were a polyp in my rectum , which had cancer in it, I have had several tests since, my doctor said it was early stages. He is keeping an eye on it, regular screenings. I hope I am doing the right thing.

Comment from: Gtown, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 20

I thought it was constipation then I thought it was hemorrhoids, then came the bleeding for three months. I went in for colonoscopy and it revealed 2cm rectal mass. I am waiting for chemo, radiation, and a surgery date

Comment from: may, 45-54 Female Published: February 10

For years I had suffered from irritable bowel, so I wasn't overly concerned about loose bowel. I started to feel as if I had a blockage but I didn't act on it. A couple of weeks after I got a bowel sample kit through the mail, I sent it away. I was asked to repeat it because there was blood in it. The next step was a scope. I was told there and then the blockage was a tumor in the rectum. I had five weeks of chemotherapy and radiation then seven weeks later major surgery. I have a stoma bag now, but I tell people that I would rather have a bag than a box!

Comment from: alphamatic, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: January 23

6-7 months ago prior to being diagnosed with rectal cancer, I noticed that I have to go to washroom more than one time a day, which was my routine. It was not painful to have a bowel movement. I would think I was finished, but in a few minutes need to return to the bathroom. I told my family doctor, but he did not react very much for six month. After I had a bowel test through a cancer agency they told me I need to do spectroscopy which result was that have rectal cancer. Now they will start with chemo and radiation for five weeks, then a five-week break, and then surgery. I never had blood, pain or other sign to make me concerned about it. If you are over 50 years old let your family doctor write a bowel test every year for you.

Comment from: VKN, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 03

Before being diagnosed with stage III rectal cancer I experienced the urge to defecate but would strain a lot and then only thin stool would come out. I would never feel fully finished. I also had blood in my stool.

Comment from: Newsynurse, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 20

Prior to being diagnosed with rectal cancer, I began to notice some bright red blood that seemed to be "wrapped around" the stool. It was not painful to have a bowel movement, but the shape would be different on different days, often looking like it had been pushed through a "Play Dough" machine--long and thin and star-shaped. I would think I was finished, but in a few minutes need to return to the bathroom. I also had a lot of gas after eating, even when I was very careful about my diet. My physician diagnosed me with hemorrhoidal bleeding because the blood was bright red. Please be aware that if the blood comes from the lower rectum it may be bright red, not dark as if coming from the upper colon. Also, sometimes I would pass strange mucous that did not have an odor like stool. After seven months of daily bleeding, I went to another doctor who took time to really listen. It took her less than five minutes during a rectal exam to feel the tumor; she referred me to a colon-rectal specialist who performed a colonoscopy the same week. I am now awaiting staging and a surgery/chemo/radiation plan from an oncology surgeon. Please note that the first doctor never bothered to perform a digital exam. Be persistent if you feel something is not right; if you simply have hemorrhoids that is just good news. I have no known risk factors other than age, and am a Registered Nurse. I also had a normal colonoscopy 10 years prior to diagnosis. Advocate for your own health!


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