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Cancer: Colon Message Board

Cancer: Colon Board Index

Are pencil-thin stools a common sign of colon cancer? I had a colonoscopy 2 1/2 years ago that was clean. And I do frequent checks for blood in the stool. However, I do occasionally have pencil-thin stools. I also have severe hemorrhoids, which frequently act up. I have trouble with constipation, for which I take stool softeners. Colon cancer is in my family.
I have never heard of pencil thin stools, or the term of that, but thin stools can be a sign of rectal cancer my doc told me because the rectum is trying to push something through where there is an anomolly (sp-abnormality is what I am trying to say :)). However, if that were your only symptom, then I wouldn't be overly concerned, as you stated you have had problems with hemorrhoids. On the other hand, I have colon cancer in the cecum on the right ascending side where the small intestine meets the large, and I have noticed thinning stools since my dx and before then, very long and thin, but not pencil thin. Possibly one of your hemorrhoids has really acted up, especially with you complaining of constipation, I would talk to a GI doc, if you don't already have one. Hemorrhoids can cause you a lot of discomfort, and everyone has them, whether or not they act up and cause problems is the thing, that's what my doc also told me.

If you do see a GI doc, tell them about your bowel history and your recent stool patterns, and let them know of your family hx of colon cancer, at the very least they would do a rectal and/or hemocult, which is basically smearing three consective samples of stool on a piece of index-like testing card and then they put the reactive chemical on it to see if it is positive.

In the interim, try not to stress, I know easier said than done! :rolleyes: Stress will just bind you up even more. I would also look at my diet if I were you, that's what I changed a bit and it helped me, what are you eating? Are you eating foods high in fiber? If so be sure to increase your water intake so that your bowels can flush it out. I found when I increased my fiber and lowered my fat intake, then was taking fiber supplements on top of it, I wouldn't have a bowel movement except like every other day or something, when I was usually 3 x a day.

I hope this helps alleviate your fears a little, do let us know what you find out and decide to do, hang in there, I know it's very frustrating when our bodies are doing different things and aren't sending us faxes to let us know what's up.

Christy in MD

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