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P_V_404 karma

How old are you?

I was diagnosed with colon cancer in May of 2019, and am (only) in my late 30s. I've seen some data suggesting that occurrence in younger people is on the rise, and I would encourage anyone with troubling symptoms (in particular the bloody stool you've mentioned) to treat that seriously and get it checked out.

P_V_53 karma

It's uncertain. I'm sure diet has played some role (I generally eat a fairly balanced diet, but I haven't avoided processed meats my whole life either), but cancer isn't usually straightforward enough to determine an exact or direct cause. I don't smoke and I don't drink alcohol, but don't get as much exercise as I should either.

P_V_17 karma

The first thing I need to say is that I am not a medical professional, so please don't mistake my opinion or anecdotal experience for any sort of reliable authority!

It's perhaps difficult to make a direct comparison given the composition of your stool. What I noticed was a reddish color that was sort of... "mixed in" occasionally. This "mixing" wasn't uniform; there'd be a section or streak of reddish stool mixed into one, er, "log". This was notably different from the sort of "surface bleeding" that can sometimes take place when you have to wipe too much (I've become somewhat familiar with this over the time spent recovering from my surgeries, and the inconsistent bowel movements that ensued), and it wasn't consistent; it wasn't an all-the-time occurrence, which made me downplay its importance.

I was an idiot and didn't immediately see a doctor about that. (In my defence, I am not a medical professional and these things can be difficult to figure out on your own, and I live in a part of Canada that has significant wait times to see someone at a drop-in clinic.) Instead, it was lower abdominal pain that encouraged me to visit the ER, and a stool sample was taken which showed high levels of calprotectin - a protein associated with an inflammatory response. A subsequent colonoscopy discovered the tumor.

This is all to say that you might want to talk to your doctor about your poop. Even if it's not blood, they might be able to recommend a source of dietary fibre that could help you firm up your stool.