Worried - being checked for bowel cancer

Hi all, just after some other experiences. My mum was diagnosed with bowel cancer when she was 37. She recovered from this thankfully but sadly passed away at only 59 from liver cancer. For the past few months every so often I have had bright red blood after a bowel movement on the toilet paper. I assumed it was just piles as I have had three children. I also started to become extremely fatigued - not just really tired - literally not being able to keep my eyes open on the afternoon or still feeling exhausted in the morning after 9 hours sleep. Again, I'm a working mum with three young children so just thought it's normal. I also started to have a tender lower abdomen (when my youngest jumps on my lap I'm gritting my teeth) I didn't really notice any bowel habit changes because, again, I'm a busy mum rushing on the school run/to work/children's clubs etc. But when I look back, my stools have become softer and I don't always feel I've completely emptied my bowels, sometimes only being able to go a little bit. I've also lost weight unintentionally - not anything significant- but enough for people to keep saying 'wow you've lost weight' (this would be great if it weren't coupled with the other symptoms!!) Anyway a couple of weeks ago after more blood on toilet paper  I thought enough is enough I need to get checked then if it's piles I can get it sorted. I had a digital rectal examination and she could find no evidence of piles. She felt my tummy and she can feel some sort of mass / enlarged organ where it's tender. She said maybe it's just an extra large uterus but given everything else and my family history it needs investigating. So shes referred me for an ultrasound of my abdomen and blood test. I had the blood test on Tuesday and I called yesterday for the results and they told me a clinician has reviewed and recommends I make an appointment to discuss with GP. The receptionist did say that she's spoken to the doctor who reviewed and said it's not major urgent, so at least I'm not severely anaemic, which the doctor said would mean urgent colonoscopy. However there's obviously some abnormalities there and I have to wait until Thursday to find out. I haven't had an ultrasound appointment through yet, she said it's usually quite quick though. So basically I wondered if anyone else had been in a similar situation? I'm still (maybe naively) convinced it's not bowel cancer, I am 37 and luck would really be against us if I were to have it at exactly the same age as my mum, but then again my symptoms are worrying. 
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my essay and thank you if you got to the end!!

  • , just a welcome and a ((hug)). Hopefully someone can help,  ?

  • Hello  . Welcome from too!

    Sorry to hear about your mum . I can totally understand why you are concerned and thankfully most people who have odd symptoms don’t have cancer but some other condition . You are doing exactly what we would advise you to do and being very wise . Any bleeding no matter what age needs to be investigated and the cause treated . So you are way ahead of what we would encourage here. The other reason we encourage early assessment is bowel cancer caught early is very treatable . Even if it’s not caught early a sub group of patients can do very well indeed . 

    It would also surprise you the amount of people around your age who pass through here with recital bleed . Again most do not have cancer and we get to wish them all the best as they move on .

    The other aspect I would like to address , a lot has changed in bowel cancer since your mum was treated . My own mum was a stage 4 patient at diagnosis and that was back in 2009 and still doing ok .

    Bit of a ramble from me !! But yes to answer your question many pass through here with a variety of symptoms , only a few end up with cancer and after successfully being treated we also get to wish them all the best .

    However for those facing a diagnosis of cancer we are here to reduce the fear and support them through the process .

    Hope it all comes through very quickly for you . Can I just say you sound very wise and reasoned .

    take special care ,


  • Hello. I'm the same age as you and was diagnosed with cancer in July, nearly a year after first going to the GP about it whilst pregnant with my second child. All the same things - blood/mucus, going to the loo more often, tiredness, anaemia - put down to pregnancy then having small kids. Currently waiting to start chemo and radiotherapy.

    Obviously it may well not be cancer in your case, as from what I was told that sort of symptoms would statistically more likely be Colitis or Crohn's in your 30s, but just wanted to say don't let them fob you off due to your age until they're absolutely sure what it is. I'm sure with family history they'll be very thorough anyway.

    Good luck, and feel free to message me if you want to!

  • Thank you so much for your lovely reply and reassurance. I must admit, I did ponder whether to post and I feel awful posting when I probably won’t have bowel cancer when so many of you are living this every day. So I really do appreciate your reply and it means a lot xx 

  • Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my post with everything you must be going through. I am so sorry to hear of your diagnosis Disappointed do you know what stage you are at? I hope it’s treatable . Can I ask why they took a year to diagnosis did you get fobbed off? Don’t imagine COVID helped. Thank you for sharing your experience with me I will definitely message you xx 

  • Thank you so much for your very kind welcome, I most say this seems like a lovely bunch Blushxx 

  • Basically a combination of it being statistically unlikely to be cancer (gastroenterologist thought most likely Ulcerative Colitis) meaning it wasn't worth the risk to the baby of investigating whilst pregnant, then once the baby was born Covid delayed the Sigmoidoscopy appointment from March to the end of July. Under normal circumstances it wouldn't have taken that long, and it's nobody's fault really, but because I was so reassured by what the gastroenterologist said, I just took it all at face value and didn't push for quicker appointments/second opinion etc.