Colon cancer scared!

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Kay1982
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:54 pm

Colon cancer scared!

Postby Kay1982 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:01 pm

Hello all. I have been struggling with bowel issues for over 5 yrs. First started with constipation, on amd off. It's now pain in the left of my stomach near navel, lower tummy near ovaries and pain on my side as well as back. The left part of my tummy is a little bigger than my right perhaps from swelling. I have intermitten diarrhea, stomach cramps and overall jist feel like poop. I ended up in the ER Saturday where they did labs and CT without contrast. All neg. First of all, would a CT without contrast show anything or was it a waste of my copay? Second are there other things that can be causing all these problems besides colon cancer. I am scared out of my mind and having anxiety. I am currently waiting for my insurance to approve colonoscopy.

veckon
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:44 am

Re: Colon cancer scared!

Postby veckon » Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:35 pm

Kay1982 wrote:Hello all. I have been struggling with bowel issues for over 5 yrs. First started with constipation, on amd off. It's now pain in the left of my stomach near navel, lower tummy near ovaries and pain on my side as well as back. The left part of my tummy is a little bigger than my right perhaps from swelling. I have intermitten diarrhea, stomach cramps and overall jist feel like poop. I ended up in the ER Saturday where they did labs and CT without contrast. All neg. First of all, would a CT without contrast show anything or was it a waste of my copay? Second are there other things that can be causing all these problems besides colon cancer. I am scared out of my mind and having anxiety. I am currently waiting for my insurance to approve colonoscopy.


If a tumor was large enough in your abdomen to be felt, it would be large enough to be easily seen on CT. Unfortunately I know this from personal experience.
27 yo male
Metastatic rectal cancer diagnosed 12/16
Liver metastases and peritoneal carcinomatosis
Lynch syndrome, MSI-H
Failed liver resection 3/17
FOLFOX6 12/16 - 05/17
Keytruda 5/17 - present
@Memorial Sloan Kettering

NHMike
Posts: 550
Joined: Fri Jul 21, 2017 3:43 am

Re: Colon cancer scared!

Postby NHMike » Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:51 pm

Kay1982 wrote:Hello all. I have been struggling with bowel issues for over 5 yrs. First started with constipation, on amd off. It's now pain in the left of my stomach near navel, lower tummy near ovaries and pain on my side as well as back. The left part of my tummy is a little bigger than my right perhaps from swelling. I have intermitten diarrhea, stomach cramps and overall jist feel like poop. I ended up in the ER Saturday where they did labs and CT without contrast. All neg. First of all, would a CT without contrast show anything or was it a waste of my copay? Second are there other things that can be causing all these problems besides colon cancer. I am scared out of my mind and having anxiety. I am currently waiting for my insurance to approve colonoscopy.


I went to the ER with rectal bleeding and they drew blood, took vitals, and asked me a lot of questions. They then did a CT scan with contrast and found a mass and said that it was likely cancer. Next up was a colonoscopy, some recovery time and then I went home. It was a very long day from about 2 AM to 8 PM at the hospital but I was glad that they got all of that done in one day as I probably would have worried if there were time between the CT and the Colonoscopy. The pathology report came back within a few days (I don't remember how many) and it was cancer.

So no, the CT scan wasn't a waste of money. At least you know that you don't have a tumor large enough to show up on a CT scan. There are many things that can cause GI problems. One of my sisters has had GI problems for years and she's lost weight and has extreme constipation problems. She going to see a few GI specialists to see if they can figure out what is wrong with her so that they can fix it. She does not have cancer. So yes, there are things that can cause GI problems that aren't cancer.

In my case, I had a mass and I guess that was sufficient justification for an immediate colonoscopy. The GI doctor ran point for me that day and in the weeks to come. You have a lot of GI problems so you should be working with a GI doc if your insurance works that way. I realize that some insurance plans generally require you to go through your PCP for that stuff but your PCP should have looked at doing some tests, including the colonoscopy, if he knew about your symptoms.
06/23/17: ER rectal bleeding; Colonoscopy+Biopsy
07/13/17: Stage 3B rectal cancer. T3, N1b, M0. 5.2 x 4.5 x 4.3 cm. Lymphs: 6 x 4 mm, 8 x 6 mm, 5 x 5 mm.
Xeloda 3,400 mg/day + radiation 07/31 - 09/08.
CEA 2.7; halfway through treatment: 1.9; after treatment: 1.8.
MSS, KRAS G12D
10/06/17: 2.7 x 2.2 x 1.6 cm (-90%). Lymphs: 3 x 3 mm (-62.5%), 4 x 3 mm (-75%), 5 x 3 mm (-40%). 5.1 CM from AV.
Surgery: 10/30/17 LAR, Temp Ileostomy

Maelleous
Posts: 105
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 8:13 am
Location: FL

Re: Colon cancer scared!

Postby Maelleous » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:45 am

I would feel fairly relieved that it is likely not colon cancer. You could still have a very small mass technically, but in the clinical trial I am in, they do a high resolution CT scan and that is it. I will have a new colonoscopy eventually but yes, CT scans catch most of it.
M 35 yr
DX Rectal Cancer, 10/16 (symptoms Feb 2016)
Dx stage 2 - Surgery Oct 25 201 Loop ileo w/ j-pouch
Close margins within 1mm
9/38 lymph nodes involved on path / Stg IIIc,pT4, pN2 B, p.M0. MSS, K‐ras, NRAS, no mutation
Started Folfox - 3rd Treament, Dec 30th 2016 Cardiac Arrest - Lucky to be part of the 6% to survive!
S-ICD installed / Port Removed
Vaccine Clinical trial at UPMC - last shot June 2017
Reversal 8/1/17 - Praying this is it!

Andrea1976
Posts: 380
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2016 10:32 am

Re: Colon cancer scared!

Postby Andrea1976 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:13 am

I had a large polyp and it was not detected by CT scan with contrast. Colonoscopy is the best to rule out anything.
Stage I
pedunculate polyp in descending colon
moderately diff adenocarcinoma 0.6 cm
Tumor confined to the head of the polyp
Stalk margin 2 cm negative for dysplasia and malignancy
Polyp removed during colonoscopy 1/15/16
No lymphovascular involved
No surgery
CEA after polyp removal 0.3
Genetic testing negative for colon and breast cancer
39 year old female. I am not celebrating my 40th but waiting for my big 50 birthday party!!!

Brearmstrong
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2017 3:24 pm
Location: CT

Re: Colon cancer scared!

Postby Brearmstrong » Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:57 am

I also had three CT scans before surgery that did not pick up the tumor that grew through the colon walk from the base of my appendix. It was over 2cm but only the colonoscopy found it.

Brenda
45 Female Jan 2017 after appendectomy
DX: (CC) tumor started in appendix and went through colon wall
Adenocarcinoma w/ mucinous features 4.1cm
mod diff G2 T4aN2
Stage IIIC
nodes 8/50
CEA 4.6 after surgery < .05
margins clear
No mutations- just bad luck
FOLFOX April-sept 2017
Clean CT scan July 2017 watching one small lung nodule 4mm
October 2017 clean CT scan 4mm lung nodule stable, new 2 mm nodule watching

DarknessEmbraced
Posts: 2832
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 4:54 pm
Facebook Username: Riann Fletcher
Location: New Brunswick, Canada

Re: Colon cancer scared!

Postby DarknessEmbraced » Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:15 pm

I'm sorry you're going through this and hope your insurance will cover a colonoscopy so you will know for certain.*hugs*
Diagnosed 10/28/14, age 36
Colon Resection 11/20/14, LAR (no illeo)
Stage 2a colon cancer, T3NOMO
Lymph-vascular invasion undetermined
0/22 lymph nodes
No chemo, no radiation
Clear Colonoscopy 04/29/15
NED 10/20/15
Ischemic Colitis 01/21/16
NED 11/10/16
CT Scan moved up due to high CEA 08/21/17
NED 09/25/17

Kay1982
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:54 pm

Re: Colon cancer scared!

Postby Kay1982 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:04 pm

Thank you all. My insurance approved my colonoscopy now I wait for my appt. I am still feeling poopy everyday mostly pain like ovary area, on both sides. Alot of nausea. I will keep you warriors updated ony results. I hope you all are doing well.

DarknessEmbraced
Posts: 2832
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 4:54 pm
Facebook Username: Riann Fletcher
Location: New Brunswick, Canada

Re: Colon cancer scared!

Postby DarknessEmbraced » Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:25 pm

I'm glad your insurance approved your colonoscopy! I hope you will get an appointment soon!*hugs*
Diagnosed 10/28/14, age 36
Colon Resection 11/20/14, LAR (no illeo)
Stage 2a colon cancer, T3NOMO
Lymph-vascular invasion undetermined
0/22 lymph nodes
No chemo, no radiation
Clear Colonoscopy 04/29/15
NED 10/20/15
Ischemic Colitis 01/21/16
NED 11/10/16
CT Scan moved up due to high CEA 08/21/17
NED 09/25/17

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BeansMama
Posts: 957
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2016 1:38 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: Colon cancer scared!

Postby BeansMama » Tue Sep 19, 2017 1:19 pm

I'm glad you got approval for a colonoscopy. While they are not very fun it really is the only way to rule it out. My 9 cm tumor showed as inflammation on my initial CT scan and my liver Mets were said to be lesions. I had a 10 almost 11 cm tumor between the lobes of my liver as well as a few smaller Mets throughout. The CT only picked up 2 lesions.

I hope your scope comes back clear for cancer.

I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
41 yrs old
Tumor found 9/2015
Surgery 1 - 11/2015 LAR and colostomy
Surgery 2 - 11/2015 wound vac
Surgery 3 - 12/2015 revise resection, move colostomy
Mets to liver - tumor inoperable - one add'l met destroyed
Stage IVa (T3 N2a M1a)
Primary tumor 9 cm x 7.5 cm x 2 cm
Beginning Folfox 1/2016 - Failed
Beginning Folfiri and vectibix 8/2016 — Failed
Beginning Folfirinox + Avastin 11/2016 - Failed
Beginning Keytruda 1/2017
CEA drop from 345 to 7.3 after starting immunotherapy
Lynch positive 3/2016

Kay1982
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:54 pm

Re: Colon cancer scared!

Postby Kay1982 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:21 pm

BeansMama wrote:I'm glad you got approval for a colonoscopy. While they are not very fun it really is the only way to rule it out. My 9 cm tumor showed as inflammation on my initial CT scan and my liver Mets were said to be lesions. I had a 10 almost 11 cm tumor between the lobes of my liver as well as a few smaller Mets throughout. The CT only picked up 2 lesions.

I hope your scope comes back clear for cancer.

I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Hi beams mama, was your ct scan with or without contrast? Mine was without and I'm afraid it wouldn't have been seen. Any thoughts?

User avatar
BeansMama
Posts: 957
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2016 1:38 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: Colon cancer scared!

Postby BeansMama » Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:02 am

Kay1982 wrote:
BeansMama wrote:I'm glad you got approval for a colonoscopy. While they are not very fun it really is the only way to rule it out. My 9 cm tumor showed as inflammation on my initial CT scan and my liver Mets were said to be lesions. I had a 10 almost 11 cm tumor between the lobes of my liver as well as a few smaller Mets throughout. The CT only picked up 2 lesions.

I hope your scope comes back clear for cancer.

I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Hi beams mama, was your ct scan with or without contrast? Mine was without and I'm afraid it wouldn't have been seen. Any thoughts?


My CT scan was with contrast. I would think they know what to look for, even without contrast. Don't drive yourself crazy with the what ifs (I know easier said than done). Stay away from Dr. Google, it will tell you that you have all kinds of diseases just because one symptom matches.

Colonoscopy is the way to go. That will give you a definite answer. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.
41 yrs old
Tumor found 9/2015
Surgery 1 - 11/2015 LAR and colostomy
Surgery 2 - 11/2015 wound vac
Surgery 3 - 12/2015 revise resection, move colostomy
Mets to liver - tumor inoperable - one add'l met destroyed
Stage IVa (T3 N2a M1a)
Primary tumor 9 cm x 7.5 cm x 2 cm
Beginning Folfox 1/2016 - Failed
Beginning Folfiri and vectibix 8/2016 — Failed
Beginning Folfirinox + Avastin 11/2016 - Failed
Beginning Keytruda 1/2017
CEA drop from 345 to 7.3 after starting immunotherapy
Lynch positive 3/2016

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WriterGirl1969
Posts: 453
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2016 3:48 pm
Location: Central NY

Re: Colon cancer scared!

Postby WriterGirl1969 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:45 am

Kay1982 wrote:Hello all. I have been struggling with bowel issues for over 5 yrs. First started with constipation, on amd off. It's now pain in the left of my stomach near navel, lower tummy near ovaries and pain on my side as well as back. The left part of my tummy is a little bigger than my right perhaps from swelling. I have intermitten diarrhea, stomach cramps and overall jist feel like poop. I ended up in the ER Saturday where they did labs and CT without contrast. All neg. First of all, would a CT without contrast show anything or was it a waste of my copay? Second are there other things that can be causing all these problems besides colon cancer. I am scared out of my mind and having anxiety. I am currently waiting for my insurance to approve colonoscopy.


First, let me echo everyone else and say that the CT, even without contrast, was not a waste. While I completely agree that your colonoscopy is the best way to go, try not to set yourself up for thinking that it has to be cancer. There are a LOT of other things that it could be. You are doing what you need to so that you can hopefully rule that out completely, and maybe find out what is causing your issues, but take some reassurance in that. Like Beans said, try to stay off Dr. Google. All it will do is add to your anxiety, and won't provide much useful info. Breathe, try to take heart from the fact that you did have a clear CT, and wait for results of your colonoscopy.

And of course, we're here if you need us. :)

Smiles, Hugs and Prayers,
WriterGirl
DX 3/4/2016 Colon Cancer; age 46 Mom of 4-yr-old
Stage IIIB: T3N1M0
3/31/16 Left Hemi
4 to 10/2016: Xeloda Monotherapy
CEA: 10/16 0.56, 1/17 0.54
3/6/17 CT clear
NED at 1 year
“If I can help somebody as I walk along, then my living shall not be in vain.”

menreeq
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:26 am

Re: Colon cancer scared!

Postby menreeq » Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:40 am

Your CT scan was not a waste. They were probably looking for a renal or ureteral stone if it was done without contrast.

CT is not the best diagnostic modality for colorectal cancer, especially if the mass is small or inside the bowel lumen. Some cancers can be seen on CT as a mass, stricture (apple core lesion), or a "filling defect" if oral contrast reaches that part of the bowel. Inflammation can be seen with both benign causes (diverticulitis, colitis, etc) and with cancer. Many cancers (including my 5 cm mass) will not be visible on CT, even with IV contrast. It also matters if you have IV only or oral contrast only or both. Each imaging or diagnostic modality has its strengths and weaknesses. We have all had bloodwork, colonoscopy, and CT. Some will also have had US, EUS, MRI, and PET. Each has a specific role to play.

Without IV contrast, evaluation of the liver is limited and small lesions can be missed. The word lesion is used to describe an abnormal finding. Because many things can look the same, they will be called lesions until it is known or suspected that they are cancer (primary or metastasis) or something else (abscess, cyst, benign liver tumor, etc.). It's just a way of saying "abnormal thing" in that organ.

There are many other things besides cancer that can cause the symptoms you described. Take it step by step, and try not to worry (easier said than done, I know).
Stage IIA rectosigmoid CC (T3N0M0)
Dx 6/5/17 @age 41, mom to 5 & 2yo girls
Workup: c-scope, EUS, rectal MRI, CT C/A/P
AdenoCA 5.5cm, WHO Grade 2, 0/22 LN, no distant mets
CEA 1.9 (6/5/17)
No lymphovasc/perineural invasion, clear margins
MSI intact, OncotypeDx RS 7
Lap sig colectomy 6/23/17, no ileo/colostomy
Genetics counseling negative for mutations, 4 VUS
Started Xeloda monotherapy 8/13/17


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