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Weight gain post child birth, water retention, swollen ankles, calves. Colonoscopy shows ulcerative colitis. Family history of rectal cancer. Do I have colon cancer?

I am a 34 yr old mother of 4 (9, 6, 3, and 17 months old). After my 4th child I have been unable to lose weight. I gave up drinking soda , joined an intense workout program and after a month and a half of the program I not only gained weight (6 lbs) but my measurements got larger (particularly my waist measurement). I worked out heavily in college, but since the birth of my children was very sporadic about it (in other words- not in shape). I currently weigh about 176lbs and I m 5 5 1/2 . I am the heaviest I ve ever been..but no matter what I do, I cant lose weight. I experience what seems to be water retention (swollen fingers- can t take my rings off ever- they are stuck on- literally); swollen ankles and calves. I feel bloated and full after eating. I was diagnosed about a yr ago with ulcerative colitis (once in a while have bouts of severe stomach cramps/ diarrhea then sometimes bleeding) - had colonoscopy for this. My father (62) was just diagnosed with rectal cancer- I am just concerned about some of the symptoms I am having compared to his. I also have a hemorrhoid that never bothered me before, but now I have constant rectal itching and irritation. When I have a bowel movement , it is painful past this area (burns and hurts upon passing the itching hemorrhoid area)and almost always have flat stools too. Thanks for any help
Mon, 22 Apr 2013
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Oncologist, Surgical 's  Response
Hello. Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory disease of the large bowel. There are specific medications for this disease which help to keep the severity of the disease in check and also provide symptomatic relief. I am sure that you must have been using them. In the long term, ulcerative colitis does predispose an individual to increased risk of colonic cancer, but the risk increases after about 10 years from the onset of the disease and the risk increases with time. However, the absolute risk is still small and every ulcerative colitis patient does not progress to cancer. It is important to being under regular surveillance under a gastroenterologist and to undergo periodic colonoscopies so that any change can be picked up early. You mentioned that your father has been recently diagnosed with rectal cancer. Did he have ulcerative colitis too? It is difficult to predict the risk when only one family member is affected and your risk of developing rectal cancer may not be too different from that of any other individual in the population. My suggestion would be that you stop worrying about the risk of cancer development as it is not a matter of immediate concern. With effective drugs now being available for treating the disease, its severity can be kept in check and in some patients in whom symptoms cannot be controlled by medications or in whom there is long standing disease early surgery (colectomy/proctocolectomy) can be done before cancer develops. Regarding your weight gain, it might the effect of some of the drugs that you might be using for ulcerative colitis.I also suggest that you should get your Hemoglobin and Thyroid profile tested and also consult an endocrinologist.
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