My lump was definitely palpable by the time I discovered it. When I arched my back, especially, you could even visually identify it. And when I pressed on it, it didn't hurt, but my stomach would gurgle. It was on my lower right side, which is where the very end of the colon is, before it turns into the small intestine.
Aside from this, I have to say that I did not have any symptoms that said immediately to me, "this is cancer." I did feel tired, very tired looking back on it. But I attributed my fatigue to job stress and the things all of us adults deal with, especially early in our careers. I didn't think much of it, truly. I learned later that my lack of usual symptoms (blood in the stool, bowel problems) was because in the far end of the colon (where my tumor was), the bowel is still liquid, so it can pass through an obstruction with fewer problems and easily identifiable symptoms compared to tumors that present in the mid and rectal areas of the colon.
After my colonectomy, I was diagnosed with a stage 3 tumor, 6/11 lymph nodes infected, and my tumor was graded as 4/4, which means extremely aggressive. My tumor had already perferated the lining of my colon, which, along with the lymph node involvement, meant that I had an extremely aggressive case. I know now how aggressive it was because I've had a recurrence in my mesentary and pelvic region.
The lesson here is this: if you have anything, including a lump like the one you're describing, get it checked out AS SOON as possible. Get rid of it. Colon cancer is extremely treatable if detected early. If not detected early, as in my case, it can spread quite easily, even after chemotherapy and resections. So go to your doctor and demand a CT Scan or PET Scan, and no matter what your age, DEMAND a FULL colonoscopy, not a sigmoidoscopy, but a full colonoscopy.
Also, there was an article in the NYTimes recently that found that doctors who take longer on colonoscopies find more polyps and remove them compared with doctors who take less than 20 minutes. So demand a full colonoscopy and tell your doctor to take his/her time, no less than 20 minutes.
Even though my case was aggressive, Ann, know that there is hope. And the first step to being cancer free is detecting it and treating it as early as possible. So if you feel a lump, get it checked out IMMEDIATELY.
Let me know if there's any other information I can provide you with and if you need any other help or support: firstname.lastname@example.org