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Anemic, frequent loose stool with blood in it. Should I be concerned about colon cancer?

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Pediatrician, Cardiology
Practicing since : 2006
Answered : 1813 Questions
My daughter is sixteen and she has always had frequent very loose stools almost every time she consumes food she goes within 20-30 min after. For the past year she has been anemic and she just told us that she has red blood in her stool which is usually like water or very soft pieces. There is also red blood on her toilet paper not always but pretty regular. She is tired we assume because of being anemic. Her blood work was all good except for lack of iron. My question is should we be concerned about colon cancer? She hasn't lost weight, eats good. She says sometimes it is achy up in her rectum and sometime burns and itches and also sometimes she doesn't feel like she has completely emptied her bowels
Sat, 19 Jan 2013 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Pradeep Kumar 3 hours later

Thanks for the query

Colon cancer is very unlikely in this age group. According to studies 90% of colon cancer occur in people of age more than 60. There are so many other common causes which can lead to these symptoms. You yourself have mentioned that she hasn't lost weight and eats well, so don't get worried for colon cancer.

Pain in the lower abdomen with infrequent blood mixed bowel and feeling incomplete evacuation of bowel all these are suggestive of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or bacterial or amoebic colitis. Polyps may also cause these symptoms.

Presence of blood in stools does not help us identify the cause. Routine and microscopic examination of stool (for ova, cyst, bacteria, occult blood) is needed. She may also need other relevant test such as barium meal follow through (a type of contrast x-ray), sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. A gastroenterologist can stream line the aforementioned investigations.

All the conditions mentioned above like IBD and colitis can be treated medically. If investigations suggest polyp (which is less likely in her case) then surgical intervention will be required. Anemia may be just due to the loss of blood in stool or due to the chronic illness which will subside after treating the cause.

Till then give her healthy diet containing less fiber and milk with plenty of water.

I hope this answers your query well. If you have any further query I will be glad to answer.

Wish you and your family good health...

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