After reading a bowel cancer survivor’s story, named Andrea, we got the idea to write an article explaining the bowel cancer symptoms and the ulcerative colitis symptoms. Maybe you have not heard about this woman’s story yet, but you are probably wondering why we want to discuss these two specific conditions. The thing is that Ms. Andrea was struggling with ulcerative colitis since she was six years old, and then one day, after the doctors tried to convince her that it was just a usual flare-up, her colonoscopy discovered that it was actually staged 2 bowel cancer.
We will tell you how the story ends in the following article, but what we really wanted to talk about are the similarity between an ulcerative colitis and bowel cancer symptoms so that you can act smart as Ms. Andrea did, and discover whether you are suffering from one or maybe both of these conditions. And while ulcerative colitis is something that can be medically treated for the rest of your life, bowel cancer is a serious health issue that needs to be resolved as soon as possible.
Bowel Cancer Symptoms Vs. Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms
Bowel cancer, as the term stands, is a type of cancer, which could be either benign or malignant, affects your large bowel. The exact cause is still unknown although according to the latest statistics, bowel cancer is considered to be the second most common cause of death in the UK. Bowel cancer usually affects older people and people who have a family history involving any type of cancer and especially the one that we are mainly talking about. Let’s see which are the most common symptoms are caused by bowel cancer.
- Persistent appearance of blood in the stool
- Persistent change in your bowel habits, which basically means that you would experience more common yet looser stools during a condition like this
- Persistent abdomen pain
- Persistent bloating and/or discomfort.
These symptoms are usually mild, especially in the beginning which makes it difficult for people to notice them and start thinking seriously about their appearance. This is exactly what makes a diagnosis so difficult and why bowel cancer is diagnosed in the later stage more commonly. The late diagnosis makes treatment a bit more difficult and this is what makes bowel cancer to be the second most common cause of death in the UK.
Now ulcerative colitis, on the other hand, is no cancer. It is an inflammatory disease which affects the inner lining of the bowel, most commonly the rectum and the sigmoid colon. However, the whole colon might be affected as well. Unlike bowel cancer, ulcerative colitis usually affects younger people until the age of 30. The bright side is that although this condition does cause certain difficulties in one’s life, it can be easily controlled with the use of specific medications to make your lifestyle as normal as it can be. This is yet another condition in which the exact cause is unknown. It is thought that maybe it is our immune system that overreacts to the normal bacteria activity in our digestive system that causes the ulcerative colitis’s symptoms to appear. Now let’s see which the most common symptoms that these patients experience are.
- Persistent bleeding from the rectum
- Persistent pain in the abdomen
- Decreased hunger and appetite
What is really tricky about ulcerative colitis is the fact that there is no cure for it. Sure, we mentioned certain medications that your doctor can recommend and prescribe, however, these medications are only meant to control the flare ups that you will experience. This is a condition that causes remissions and attacks to occur.
You can see how some of the most common symptoms such as persistent bleeding from the rectum and abdomen pains are present in both ulcerative colitis and bowel cancer. This only means one thing – if you notice any of these symptoms, please do ask your doctor for help. A routine colonoscopy will be performed as well as some other tests so that the doctor can determine what is causing these symptoms. If you are struggling with ulcerative colitis, do ask for help if you notice that your usual symptoms have become stronger or if your attack is lasting longer than usual. Improve your chances of getting better by acting on time. This is especially important for those of you who are either suffering from ulcerative colitis or another inflammatory disease, who have a family or a medical history involving bowel cancer or are in the late age. A colonoscopy takes only a few minutes to be performed and it reveals so much about your health. Do not hesitate to ask for help when you think that your need it. Now let’s see what happened to Ms. Andrea’s story at the end.
Ms. Andrea’s Story
As we mentioned in the beginning, this woman’s story is what made us investigate this topic in the first place. Andrea who has been struggling with ulcerative colitis for her sixth year started noticing some stronger than usual symptoms that draw her attention. She immediately went to her doctor and although the doctor though it was just a usual attack, the protocol required her to spend the next eleven months in the hospital until her condition got better. And it did, however, during those eleven days, she was required to perform two routine colonoscopies. She was surprised as well as the consultant to find out that it was really a stage 2 bowel cancer that was causing these stronger symptoms. She immediately got her diagnosis confirmed by the doctors and started a treatment plan. We are happy to say that the treatment was successfully and Ms. Andrea is now fully recovered. Learn from her experiences and get your regular colonoscopy performed if you belong to any of the risk groups that we mentioned earlier.
One very brave woman made the example that all of us should follow when it comes to taking care of our general health. Ulcerative colitis might be something that you can control, however, bowel cancer is a bit scarier and should be resolved as soon as possible. There is no time to take any risk when it comes to dealing with bowel cancer. Follow Ms. Andrea’s example and get yourself checked out if you notice any of the previously mentioned symptoms so that you would not risk having to deal with bowel cancer. Take a better care of your health, do not avoid going to the doctors.