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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

Teenager convinced he's got bowel cancer

(15 Posts)
Downyonder Thu 02-Feb-17 23:24:37

My 18 yr old ds has convinced himself he's got bowel cancer. He had a change in his bowel habits and after a week took himself off to the doctors. He spoke to the doctor, explained his symptoms, doctor that told him it was unlikely that at his age he had it, but told him she couldn't rule it out. He's had three lots of blood taken and given a stool sample. Since then he's been so worried he won't be in his own. He's spent all his time with his grandparents because I have to work. I don't know if I've handled it correctly.... I'm of the stance that he needs to pull himself together and stop worrying, he's young, fit and healthy, mainly because I think it's true, but also to try and get him out of this worried state he's in. I've googled his other symptoms and I think he's been worried for no reason. We go for his blood results, but his stool sample isn't back yet. I don't know how to handle his worry or this situation for the best.

BingoBingoBingoBango Fri 03-Feb-17 12:23:00

What makes him think he has bowel cancer?

I think you need to accept his worries. If you're just telling him to pull himself together he won't feel very supported. His worries are probably huge to him, even if they may well be unfounded.

A change in bowel habits could be for all sorts of reasons. He needs to stay off google! Does he know someone who's had bowel cancer? You're right about that he's fit, young and healthy and it's unlikely. Does he have anxiety normally?

Andro Fri 03-Feb-17 17:26:43

His worries won't be being helped by the recent death of a very young woman from bowel cancer (can't recall her exact age, but it was in the news).

Acknowledge his concern, reiterate that there's nothing he can do until the results are back and reassure him that at least his GP has taken his concerns seriously (some young people would be fobbed off on age grounds).

specialsubject Fri 03-Feb-17 17:31:02

There is a never too young situation, but he has done the right thing in getting checked. Hopefully it will be an all clear.

FuckOffDailyMailQuitQuotingMN Fri 03-Feb-17 17:38:16

I agree that he needs your support. It sounds like he is very very worried and to him it is real. Can you have him checked over thouroghly then ask for referral for some counselling or CBT? I don't know much about it but Health Anxiety can be quite debilitating from what I understand.

Hope he gets the help and support he need to feel better.

Isadora2007 Fri 03-Feb-17 17:43:49

Honestly i would let him explore his fears rather than avoid them.
So he is being tested and he has it- what next? Let him follow it all through and this may actually help him to face it and realise that IF he did have bc he would be on the path to treatment and he would have caught it early and be in good health as young and fit etc
Then look at the chances of him having it - low - and what other things can cause his symptoms (stress? Anxiety? Change in eating habits or odd eating habits) and he may see these options are more likely.
Hopefully he will get some answers soon too to put him at ease. But do let him talk about his fears and vocalise them as often it's what we can't say that affects us most.

FraterculaArctica Fri 03-Feb-17 17:50:02

Poor DS but how brave and mature of him to go and see the doctor. I would be absolutely honest with him and emphasise that it is very unlikely to be cancer, but in the very unlikely case that it is, there are many treatments available especially if caught early. Would he respond well to this do you think? I speak as someone who had bad health anxiety myself as a teen, and whose DB was diagnosed with bowel cancer last year aged 35 (so much older than your DS, but also very young to be diagnosed). His was caught early and he's had some unpleasant treatment but has very much been able to get on with life as normal and is currently clear.

user1485706893 Fri 03-Feb-17 17:59:40

I knew a girl that was insistent that she had cervical cancer, she was 17. She asked and begged for a smear and She never got one after a yearish of being constantly at the doctors, apart from anything else she was in pain and should have been seen to.
All of this because she was 17.
She died last year, of cervical cancer, aged 18.
Now, I'm not saying your son has cancer, 99.999% chance he doesn't. But he needs your support and you should take him seriously. When his tests come back clear, see how he reacts, if he still insists he has it and for no good reason, there's something else going on with him.but he may feel more relaxed and let it lie. Good luck in any case.

Downyonder Fri 03-Feb-17 19:21:02

We've been to the doctors today to get some blood results and everything was all clear but apparently it's the stool sample that will determine if he does or doesn't. They haven't had that back yet. Our GP, while not committing, basically said he'd be very surprised if he had bowel cancer, and asked my ds if that would put his mind at rest. I didn't realise the extent of his anguish and worry. He says until he can be told he hasn't got cancer, he won't be able to rest. He cried all the way home which broke my heart. They offered him some cbt, which I think may be good for him. His next appointment is Tuesday so hopefully this result is back and he can stop worrying.

Inneedofaholiday2017 Fri 03-Feb-17 21:15:55

Poor lad. I think it's normal to be worried if you suspect you have cancer. I think he needs a proper diagnosis not therapy. He hasn't got health anxiety - he's got symptoms that aren't normal for him. He's doing all the right things.

Could it be diverticulitis? Ask the dr maybe be tues if his stool sample is clear.

Downyonder Mon 06-Feb-17 22:20:33

So today I have rang up to chase the stool sample that inevitably will give my ds peace of mind tomorrow at his follow up appointment and they've only gone and lost it. I feel like screaming! We were assured on Thursday that this would be chased up. Obviously wasn't chased up, as it would have come to light that they didn't have it. So we're back to square one, my ds is literary on the ceiling with his worrying. He's taken another sample today which won't be collected until tomorrow and the darling receptionist had told him that it will be approx 2 weeks for the result. I'm ready to go and wipe the floor in the drs tomorrow. I could literally kill!

Inneedofaholiday2017 Tue 07-Feb-17 02:06:20

Oh how annoying!! Not what you both needed!!

charliebear78 Sat 11-Feb-17 17:58:53

What stool test is it?
I have Done a home FOBT test bought via the internet-to look for hidden blood in my stool-it came back positive.
I told the Docs but they do not seem that bothered,I am 39-they wont do another test for me as they say they cant as I am not in the right age range(over 55)
Instead they have done a Calprotectin Test-to check for Inflammation in the Bowels.
It as been 3 weeks now so they are chasing the results up and meant to be contacting me Monday.
I have had stomach pains and constipated/straining-feeling like I need to go but not being able to.
I have got it into my head there is a chance I could have Bowel Cancer and I am so worried so I know how your son feels.
All the tests and waiting around for results is horrible.
Docs are usually quick to say its IBS and because I am 39 almost seem confident I cant have Cancer-which is obviously not the case.
I want a Colonoscopy done-yet again Docs dont think this is ness.

Waterfeature Thu 16-Feb-17 18:55:05

CBT is a good idea. Poor DS.

CaptainHarville Sat 18-Feb-17 08:12:53

Are you sure that his worry is bowel cancer? I'd be thinking that there was a possibility he was using that as something he's allowed to worry about, its tangible etc. Worrying to the point that he's unable to stay home alone would make me think it was more than the risk of cancer concerning him. The CBT sounds good but I would be wondering about his general stress and anxiety levels.

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