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Could stomach pain and difficulty passing motion be a sign of cancer?

Gastroenterology Cancer Colorectal Surgery

I am a 36 year old man who has had stomach discomfort for the last few months. The discomfort has became worse this week, and I also experienced some difficulty passing motion. I am worried about cancer, and wonder what I should do next?

DOCTOR’S ANSWER (2)

Cancer of the digestive tract is not very common in your age group (36 years). 

However, there can at times be exceptions, especially if you have a family history of cancer. 

Perhaps you may need to consult a doctor with the view to a gastroscopy and colonoscopy if the attending doctor is of the opinion that your symptoms are serious.

748 views 20 Mar 2018


There are many reasons why someone develops recurrent or persistent stomach discomfort. Pain or discomfort which lasts more than 4 weeks should be evaluated carefully to exclude significant problems arising from the stomach, liver, gallbladder or pancreas.

Having said that, most stomach discomfort are related to occasional upset in the digestion rhythm or stomach acid production. Constipation itself can make abdominal bloating or discomfort more prominent. So consider taking smaller portions during meal time and increase your intake of fiber and water. Simple measures such as walking a little more may also help with constipation.

Cancers are not common at your age unless there is a strong family history of digestive cancer in your family. The "red flag" signs to look out for include worsening pain, blood stained stools or persistent stool caliber change especially if there is a sense of persistent urgency to open bowel but with poor output. Other alarming features include black stools, nocturnal pain, weight loss and obvious yellow discoloration of your eyes.

In any case, if your symptoms are not better with simple treatment, seeking medical help early is probably the most prudent measure to take. Hope this helps.

- Dr Quan


 

 

572 views 17 Sep 2018
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