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Having cramps, diarrhoea, weightloss. Having family history of colon cancer. Does it show in barium enema?

I have had cramps like menstral cramps for a little over a year now. I have had diarrhea for 4 months and I cant seem to keep food in my system without having to make a bowel movement . I have had a barium enema and an upper GI and nothing showed up. Usually the pain is on the right side but sometimes it escalates into the other side. I need help... my appt with a specialist isnt until the new year and im in a lot of pain and have rapidly lost weight, about 25 pounds within a few months. My mom has had a history with colon cancer and she beat it twice, but wouldnt the enema have showed that? I am 22 years old and just need some answers.
Asked On : Sun, 16 Dec 2012
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General & Family Physician 's  Response
Hi crystaltremblay,

Your symptoms of abdominal cramps, diarrhea, rapid weight loss points out to INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE(IBD), but history of Colon cancer in your mother added to these symptoms strongly points towards colon cancer. Eventhough Barium enema can diagnose both colon cancer and precancerous lesions like polyps in the colon it can miss small polyps, polyps higher up in the colon and early stages of colon cancer. Colonoscopy is a better modality where small lesions can be detected, fortunately Biopsy can also be taken by doing colonoscopy if lesions are seen and it can detect IBD also.

Given your history and presentation, its better getting yourself screened through Colonoscopy. You can also go for genetic testing for the detection of gene mutations involved in carcinoma colon...
My wishes for your good health, Dr. Parthipan
Answered: Sun, 16 Dec 2012
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