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Small stools, back pain, gallbladder operating at 19%. Pancreatic cancer ?

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Practicing since : 2002
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I have had digestive problems since January of 2011, and my stool has permanently changed from large to a smaller diameter. I've had a CAT scan of the liver, kidneys, pancreas,etc. I have also had a colonoscopy,endoscopy, and ultrasound. Numerous amounts of bloodwork and just about all the GI tests there are. I also have a continuous ache in the middle back on the right side.(I had an MRI for that also) The only thing my GI doctor found was a "sluggish" gallbladder operating at 19%. I have used smokeless tobacco for 25 years and am trying very hard to quit. I am concerned about the possibillity of pancreatic cancer, but my doctors have told me there is nothing wrong with me. Any help would be appreciated. Thank You
Posted Tue, 8 May 2012 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 3 hours later
Hello and thanks for the query.

Your question is a good one and I will try to provide you with some information and recommendations regarding what has been going on.

Let me first tell you that I am confident that you do not have pancreatic cancer. This would have shown up on imaging within the pancreas or liver. Also, pancreatic cancer tends to be rapidly progressive and you have no symptoms at all that are reflective of such a thing.

One thing we must not ignore would be a change in your diet which may have led to an alteration of stool caliber. In order to test this line of thought I recommend you purchase a container of Metamucil powder and drink two large glasses of this daily - once in morning and once at night. Within two weeks this added fiber should have an impact on the frequency and caliber of your stool.

Another thought would be that you have an irritable bowel. This can be triggered by stress, anxiety or possibly by electrolyte abnormalities. It can be treated with medcatuons which relax or calm down spasm in the colon.

I think you should try the Metamucil option first and then reassess. I am very confident that you have no cancer at all and that you will continue to live a long and robust life.

I thank you again for the query and hope my answer serves to be both helpful and informative. Should you have additional concerns I would be happy to address them.


Dr. Galamaga
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