Would I know if I had cancer?

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so long story short I started having stomach issues around 4 months ago. Stomach spasms, liquid diarrhea, constipation and sometimes bad bloating/gas etc. Dr thought and still thinks its IBS with a lactose intolerance that makes it worse when I eat dairy. I quit eating dairy around 3 months ago and when I accidentallyate ice cream I was sick for 4 days. Asked for a colonoscopy which he ordered and the colonoscopy came back normal along with a biopsy that was taken. But it was almost like my mind started searching for the next sickness to worry about (before the colonoscopy I was convinced I had colon cancer)

now I'm still experiencing bloating and spasms and wierd stomach sensations, along with a general itchy feeling made worse by stress. With the itchiness now I am completely scared I have pancreatic problems or maybe cancer, I am terrified. Although I had read something about itching being the first sign of jaundice and had a 4 day long itching episode, it subsided when I starting thinking about other things. Now it is back and the first thing I think about in the morning is itching and I feel itchy, with no visible rash. I have always been a worrisome person and when I was 12 I had a horrible bout with OCD in which I wouldn't touch anything and had to take medication and attend therapy because I would wash my hands 30 + times a day. I was scared I would touch something with HIV infected blood.

now I know I have stress issues and my doctor has referred me to a gastroenterologist, I want to ask if I've been having these symptoms for the last 4 months could it be my pancreas ? such as cancer? it terrifies me to even say it. When the itching started it got me really scared.

thank you for reading all of this

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  • Posted

    brian i WAS in the same boat as you . keyword was , you should look inti cognitive therapy. i had heart burn last summer at 35 after having a steel stomach . I looked up my symptoms online and webmd said stomach cancer. i made an appointment with a GI DR and it was severe gastritis due to stress. I felt great for a week or two and then my negative thinking got me to say what IF he is wrong . I had a ultrasound of my abdomen , everything normal besides non alcoholic fatty liver. Still not convinced i had a CT scan. still not convinced a negative colonoscopy . long story short once i realized my health anxiety was causing the majority of my pain and symptoms , I felt better. i occasionally feel "off" get bloated or crampy but its stress/ibs and the fact i am more aware and key into stuff most people wouldnt. When you look at stomach/pancreatic cancer numbers 100-200 people in my age bracket a year , vs 2-5 million with Gerd / ibs. stress is awful for your stomach find a way to release it.

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  • Posted

    Brian,

    Don't try to look and research on internet. On internet, everything will lead you to cancer. There are thousands of stomach related problems that are not cancer. Did you have a check for bacterial infection like Hpylori?

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  • Posted

    Your post is very interesting, I'm in a similar boat as u with all the things u described...

    • Back in July/August I started having 1. stomach issues and 2. A generalized itching of my skin (mostly hands, arms, neck - I itch a spot and it gets red and hives appear). The stomach issues are a cramping feeling all over my stomach that come and go, lots of belching + gas. I thought maybe I had gastritis and so I went on a super bland diet. It helped a little but still didn't go away so I went to see a gastro dr. I had an ultrasound done and an endoscopy and everything came back normal. During this time I also saw my reg GP and a dermatologist for the generalized itching. They did blood work and everything came back normal.
    • SO.. Where I am at now, and what the Gastro, Dermo, and GP all think about my stomach + generalized itching is: anxiety -_-
    • They all agree everything looks normal and their best guess is stress/anxiety is causing not only my stomach issues but also the itchiness. But it's funny bc like u, I immediately started googling and then worrying maybe I have pancreatic cancer (bc I saw stomach pain + itching are symptoms of that). But also like u, I notice the itching and stomach pains usually go away when I'm distracted/busy and not focusing on it. And when I'm anxious or focused on them they both heighten a lot. So this has been easing the cancer fears, but not completely =/
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  • Posted

    You sound very anxious indeed with one health anxiety taking over from another. Years of worrying and stress is very bad for the gut and can trigger IBS. Itching can be brought on by stress too. I used to come out in an immediate hot itchybrash when stressed. If you had jaundice, not only would you have itching, but you would also have yellow skin which can be seen. Accept your doctor's suggestion of IBS, because all your symptoms sound very like it. You also seem to have happened on a good way of controlling your symptoms which is distraction techniques since you have found that your itching goes away when you think of something else.

    I have always been a worrier too and this first triggered acid reflux and later IBS in 2015 after a six month bout of stress. I saw numerous doctors and had a series of tests which showed nothing. This threw me into a three and a half month bout of anxiety with a different health worry every day and a constant fear that something serious had been missed. I had pancreas worries too but I asked one of my doctors about it and he immediately reassured me that it was highly unlikely at my age, I believed what he said and this health fear went away. What finally helped me was my final doctor linking my bowel symptoms with my stress levels and diagnosing IBS. As soon as accepted what I had been told, my worries disappeared and my gut calmed down.

    Try to stay as calm as possible and try concentrating on a hobby or light exercise such as walking.

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  • Posted

    Prior to my diagnosis, I found that when I was having a laugh with friends, my stomach pain went away, but when I started stressing about it again, the pain came back. I don't have any trouble with health anxiety now because I was correctly diagnosed and have recognised that when I stay calm, my gut is calm, but if I am stressed, my symptoms come back.

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  • Posted

    Yeah I still have bouts where my stomach will have a dull aching pain, like a side stitch while running but not as bad. Which is normally gas. Colonoscopy was negative but Dr said heavy inflammation , negative to colitis, crohns and cancer. So said its anxiety. Like you and Pippa stated, if I am busy like at work or chasing my two young daughters around I dont notice it. When I am bored and have time to think , It gets worse. In my head I know its stress as when we are on vacation, for weekends or weeks I have NO symptoms. So its definetely anxiety , BUT I do have to say every so often I think of checking my symptoms online which is the worst thing to do with health anxiety. Also , mint tea .. .... I saw this on a youtube video and have to say it definetely cleared up my issues. Mint tea and a solid nights sleep will do wonders!

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  • Posted

    thanks so much everyone, it's nice to get some positive reinforcement and yes stress and health related anxiety can be debilitating. It can be very hard to enjoy life. so I appreciate all comments.

    I'm going for a blood test today that will test for bilirubin levels.. if it comes back normal I can at least chock my phantom itching to nerves or stress. I will post results when I get them

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  • Posted

    our stomoch is connected with our mind as ONE

    if you have bad thoughts - anxiety etc it will show in our stomoch

    get cbt help - eat well - meditate .... fix thr anxiety and stop googling

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  • Posted

    Hi Brian,

    I have a lot of your symptoms and the doctors don't have a clue why im suffering so badly. Have you seen your doctor again? Try not to worry. I know it's difficult, but worrying will just stress you out more.

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  • Posted

    just an update, I will be getting my bilirubin tests back tomorrow, if normal I'm hoping I can rule out the itch as a problem with my pancreas or liver and chock it up to me being an overly anxious and stressed out person.

    my doctor without saying it seems to think I'm a hypochondriac.. as he says with the clean colonoscopy it is very reassuring and my other symtoms dont seem to be worrisome and it is probably IBS causing all my extra stress. after dishing out a lot of money on the colonoscopy I'm reluctant to demand more testing but was thinking of an endoscopy to rule out the dreaded pancreas worries I have been having

    my wife bless her heart also suggested that if I had pancreatic issues such as cancer I wouldn't have gained 4 pounds in the last 3 months, and no, no ascites or anything like that. once all these stomach issues started and my fear was colon cancer I stopped working out due to stress, and I used to run 15 miles a week religiously before all this started. so I think if I had an issue such as pancreatic cancer I wouldn't be gaining weight. but I will update tomorrow with the bilirubin results.

    thank you everyone for the positive reinforcement:)

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  • Posted

    just in case anyone ever has this same issue my total bilirubin came in within the normal range.. so I think the itching is either dry skin or all in my mind 😕

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