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Thread: Abdominal and digestive symptoms

  1. #1
    Newbie New User
    Join Date
    Jun 2019

    Abdominal and digestive symptoms

    Hi everyone -

    Looking for any ideas or some general support, as my anxiety is through the roof. Here's what's going on:

    1.) I am a 31-year old male. Height 5'10, weight 190. Not in the best shape, but not totally out of shape.

    2.) I have had some bowel issues in the past. I had an episode of rectal bleeding that was attributed to hemorrhoids after a negative colonoscopy and upper GI. I have also had some acute episodes of abdominal pain and pale stool that was considered idiopathic after a negative abdominal CT and ultrasound in July 2018. I also have recurrent back pain on my left side and shoulder blade that physical therapy has not helped.

    3.) My recent bout of symptoms began about 2 weeks ago. I began having specific, sharp, throbbing pain in my epigastric region, centered on the left side. Over the course of the week, the pain began radiating along my left side to my left back, at the same level. I also began experiencing some increased shoulder pain, so I went to see my PCP. He ran some liver enzyme tests, which came back normal.

    4.) After this appointment, the pain became so bad I went to the emergency room. They ran a CBC, basic metabolic, lipase, and a few other blood tests, and a urinalysis - all normal. I also received an abdominal CT, which was negative.

    5.) This week, I began experiencing extreme symptoms of constipation and indigestion, which I am still experiencing along with the abdominal pain. I had an upper endoscopy and also received an abdominal ultrasound. Both were normal.

    6.) Which brings me to today. Last night, after no bowel movements for 3 days, I had a violent bowel movement that was diarrhea that was pale, floated on the water, and left residue on the toilet. I had to flush it a few times. For the past week, every day, I have a burning sensation in my throat, along with nausea and indigestion. My abdominal pain is still constant and localized on my left upper region, radiating to my back. I've had three more bowel movements today, and while they are more solid, all are pale yellow, float and smell horrible.

    Bottom line: I'm worried these are symptoms of pancreatic cancer. I of course have been Dr. Googling, and I have read how pancreatic cancer can be missed on CT scans and abdominal ultrasounds. I have an appointment with a gastro next week, but I am very nervous with the prospect of waiting. My PCP and GI seem confident that major things were ruled out by the emergency room CT, but I'm not so sure.

    What should I do? Any help or suggestions is appreciated. Even if you think I'm overreacting and am making mountains out of molehills.

  2. #2
    Administrator Top User lisa1962's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    If you have read our policies, then you must know we will not guess to the cause of your wide range of symptoms. It is clear Google has convinced you that you are seriously ill yet doctors have run many tests which all have been negative.

    At some point, you have to put some faith in their medical abilities . Is it possible that no actual cause will be found? Yes, it is possible. We receive so many posters here scared of gaving pancreatic cancer yet i do not remember one posting within our Worried forum that was actually diagnosed.

    While we can not say you do not have cancer, it is unlikely given your age. There is most probably a more logical reason for your symptoms . Posting on a cancer forum is certainly not helping so if you are not confident with the outcome of the tests done to date, then go back to your doctor and see what they can offer to alleviate your fear.


  3. #3
    I'm experiencing the exact same symptoms.....which I've had for 6 months......you shouldn't really worry as you have had scans.....I have not had any scans other than simple x-rays and basic cbc blood work.......as for me I'm too scared to get a CT for fear of finding something sinister......you can read my post on here.....

    Im not a doctor and cant diagnose you but early Idiopathic chronic Pancreatitis can be a possibility that would not show in blood work sometimes....and can take years to show on scans..please refrain from drinking any alcohol and eat low fat foods until you get this figured out to give your pancreas a break if that is what it is.....but im not sure....
    Please continue keeping us up to date on your journey......

    God bless

  4. #4
    Newbie New User
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    I wish I had an answer for you, as I could have almost posted the exact same story. I'm a little bit older, 36 years old, but your story is very similar to mine. I just had a CT scan with contrast last week and it came back totally normal, the radiologist's report even says "There is no pancreatic mass or ductal dilatation". I haven't had an Ultrasound, but my doctor says they aren't always great at seeing the pancreas anyway. I also had a Pancreatic Elastase test (test for pancreatic function) and it came back well above the normal range (normal is >200, mine was >500). My Serum Lipase level has been checked twice now, and it's always within the normal range. All other blood tests and urinalysis have been normal as well. I have a colonoscopy next week.

    Please post again if you ever find out what is going on, and I will do likewise.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Top User ddessert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Blog Entries
    Your age and sudden progression of symptoms do not point to pancreatic cancer, but perhaps something more suddenly onset.

    Let your doctor know if your pain levels track with eating. This could be a big clue.

    The CT scan is not that good at looking at the pancreatic or bile ducts, but an EUS, MRCP or ERCP are. Emergency room CT scans are often not focused on the pancreas, but are meant to discover more major problems in any organ.

    Pancreatitis, or a blocked pancreatic duct can explain a lot of what you’re experiencing, but not everything. It could be missed by the tests you mentioned (unless your endoscopy was with ultrasound and not visual).

    Likely the blood tests included bilirubin to help rule out a stone in the bile duct or gall bladder (very common).

    Keep an open mind that there may be more than one problem at the same time. Don’t necessarily focus on one cause (i.e. cancer) to explain everything. Consider strained muscles, poor diet, herniated discs between vertebrae, anxiety, stress, etc.
    BRCA2 3398del5
    Dec 2010 - back/abd pain
    May 2011 - Unresectable stage III, 2.5cm tumor
    Jun-Aug 2011 - Gem/Cis, 9 rounds
    Oct-Nov 2011 - IMRT+Xeloda
    Oct 2011-Sep 2012 - shrinking tumor
    Feb 2012 - National Familial Pancreatic Study
    Aug 2012 - Downgraded to stage IIA, PGP
    Sep 2012 - Whipple, T3N0M0, 0.5cm tumor, 0/16 lymph nodes
    Dec 2012 - Quebec PanCan Study
    Sep 2012-May 2019 - NED
    Mar 2013-present - NCT01088789
    Jun 2019- NCT03805919

  6. #6
    Pancreatic cancer is a fairly rare disease, particularly with someone as young as you are. Pancreatitis is a lot more common for young people- but that's usually an ailment for big drinkers. If you drink a fifth a day, that would be a distinct possibility.

    Good luck with your doctor's appointment, think positive thoughts. A lot of people have unexplained GI symptoms, and most of the time its benign conditions which can be treated symptomatically and you'll start to feel better pretty quickly once your anxiety eases. Anxiety does nothing to help your symptoms.
    Nov 2013 PSA 4.2 Biopsy Jan 2014- 1 core positive, 20% Gleason 6, doctor highly reco'ed robotic RP - 2nd opinion at UPMC April 2014, put on active surveillance. 2nd biopsy Feb 2015, results negative. PSA test Feb 2016, 3.5. 3rd Biopsy Feb 2016. 3 positive cores less than 5%, Gleason 6. Octotype DX done April 2016, GPS Score of 24--rated "Low risk". PSA test 8/2016, 3.2. PSA test 1/2018 2.2 (after 7 months of proscar) PSA test 7/2018 2.3, PSA test 7/2019 2.0

    DOB 1956, in Pittsburgh, USA


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