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Noticed blood in stool. Should I be worried for colon cancer?

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I am a 23 year old female and I have been noticing bright red blood in my solid stools for the last couple of weeks. My maternal grandmother had colon cancer at the age of 35. Should I be concerned?

Posted Fri, 17 May 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 22 minutes later

Thank you for the query.

Bright red blood in the stool is usually caused by hemorrhoids. Especially if the blood is on the surface of the stool or on the toilet paper. Hemorrhoids can be caused by constipation, lack of physical activity, bad diet.
Colon cancer usually affects people older than 50. However, as your grandmother has colon cancer at the age of 35, you may suffer from Lynch syndrome (so called Hereditary Non-polyposis Colorectal Cancer).
The risk of presence of this syndrome can be established with this criteria:
- 3 or more relatives with an associated cancer (colorectal cancer, or cancer of the endometrium, small intestine, ureter or renal pelvis);
- 2 or more successive generations affected;
- 1 or more relatives diagnosed before the age of 50 years;
- 1 should be a first-degree relative of the other two;

All mentioned criteria must be fulfilled. If so, genetic tests should be done.

If you do not fulfill all of mentioned criteria, you can be still in a higher than regular group of colon cancer risk. At your case colonoscopy should be done 10 years before the earliest age of colon cancer in the family. So it sounds like it is almost time to do that.

That is why I suggest you to visit your doctor and get scheduled for colonoscopy. If only hemorrhoids will be present (what is most probable), suppositories and diet change should improve its condition.

Hope this will help. Feel free to ask further questions.
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