I’m 32 and battled severe diarrhea for years. I learned my bathroom issues were actually stage 4 COLON CANCER

By Caitlin Tilley, Health Reporter For Dailymail.Com

16:52 19 Jan 2024, updated 16:54 19 Jan 2024

  • Raquel, from California, would go to the restroom up to 10 times a day in 2019
  • But her lack of health insurance stopped her from seeing a doctor until 2023
  • READ MORE: Record 2MILLION Americans will get cancer this year

Another victim of America’s cancer epidemic in young people has shared her story.

Raquel, from California, suffered diarrhea and painful bowel movements on and off for four years.

She could go for a number two up to 10 times a day and still never feel like she had had a complete bowel movement.

But she put it down to not getting enough fiber or not eating healthily enough. Raquel suspected irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or a gluten or dairy intolerance.

It never once crossed her mind that she might have cancer.

While cancers have steadily fallen over recent decades, doctors have been mystified by an explosion of colorectal cancer cases, also known as colon cancer, in younger adults who have traditionally been at low risk of the disease.

Raquel, from California, found she was always going to the restroom all the time in 2019
In 2023, she was diagnosed with stage four colorectal cancer
The above graph shows the rate of diagnoses of colon cancer in age groups over time. It shows a clear uptick in diagnoses among people aged 20 to 49 years old (top right) and an arrest in the rate among 50 to 54-year-olds (bottom left). Diagnoses are continuing to drop in those over 65 years old. The phrases localized, regional, distant and unstaged refer to the stage of colon cancer that was diagnosed

In 2019, Raquel was talking to her housemate about how she was always going to the restroom all the time. 

Raquel did not have health insurance, so she avoided going to the doctor.

Instead, she started taking Metamucil, a fiber supplement, which helped calm her random bouts of diarrhea for a bit.

In 2021, she moved to Seattle and got a job which came with decent health insurance, but her symptoms had settled.

Then in 2022, she started going to the bathroom a lot again and had uncomfortable bowel movements.

Her stools were ‘pencil-thin, sometimes orangish-red in color, and occasionally there’d be a little blood,’ she told SELF magazine.

Raquel would also become completely full after eating, and was bloated irrespective of what she ate, even after she attempted to go diary and gluten-free.

‘Looking back, these were major warning signs that something was wrong, and I wouldn’t find out until later that they were classic signs of colorectal cancer,’ she said.

In May 2023, she had her first physical in a decade and told her doctor about the bowel trouble she’d been having for four years.

The doctor said it was probably anxiety, and potentially gas, and recommended a psychiatric appointment.

The above graph shows how rates of colon cancer have risen among adults aged 20 to 49. Scientists say more than 40 percent of diagnoses are among those aged 45 to 49 years old. The graph shows rates of colon cancer per 100,000 people in younger adults by stages
Data from JAMA Surgery showed that colon cancer is expected to rise by 90 percent in people ages 20 to 34 by the year 2030. Doctors are not sure what is driving the mystery rise
Florida’s cancer cases among those aged 20 to 39 years have risen 15 percent in the decade from 2010 to 2020

Three weeks later, Raquel suffered ‘unbearable’ abdominal pain in her abdomen and lower back, which almost caused her to faint in her apartment.

She went to the ER where she had a CT scan, abdominal ultrasound and bloodwork.

The doctor broke the news she had cancer on her ovaries and liver, and she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

After meeting with an oncologist and undergoing a liver biopsy, doctors realized the cancer had begun in her colon and spread to other organs.

She was diagnosed with stage four colorectal cancer. Doctors ordered an endoscopy and colonoscopy to examine her in more detail. 

Her colorectal cancer was so huge that doctors struggled to get the scope through her colon. 

Colorectal cancer is very slow-growing, meaning Raquel could have had cancer for eight to 10 years, maybe even all of her 20s, without knowing.

With colon cancer, you also often do not have any distinguishable or really serious symptoms until the cancer is at stage three or four.

First to get breast cancer vaccine still in remission after five years 

Jennifer Davis is in her fifth year of remission from triple-negative breast cancer after receiving a breakthrough vaccine currently in development to prevent recurring cases of the aggressive cancer. 

The symptoms, including nausea, constipation, diarrhea and difficulty going to the bathroom, can be due to so many other conditions, including less harmful ones like IBS.

Raquel began biweekly chemotherapy, and changed her diet to focus on soft foods such as mashed potato.

Her doctors have told her that at some point in the future, the chemo will stop working because her cancer is terminal. 

Her chances of survival two years after diagnosis are 20 percent, which drops to five percent after five years, but she said she is ‘determined to beat the odds.’

While cancer diagnosis has improved in general over the years, doctors do not think to look for cancers in young people, which can lead to misdiagnoses. 

But the face of cancer is changing, and diagnoses are shifting earlier. Within the next decade, experts expect colon cancer to become the number one cause of cancer-related deaths among under-50s.

Experts are not sure what’s behind the unprecedented rise and are exploring whether modern diets, antibiotics or even fungal infections could be at play.

Growing numbers of chemicals in food are also suspected to play a part. Even if chemicals do not directly cause cancer, they affect levels of hormones, including estrogen, which has a protective effect in colorectal cancer development. 

A study last year suggested high-fat diets could be driving America’s colorectal cancer epidemic in young people. 

Researchers at the Salk Institute and the University of California, San Diego, found that high-fat diets change gut bacteria and alter digestive molecules called bile acids in mice.

These caused inflammation, which increased the chance of colorectal cancer, a notoriously difficult-to-treat type of the disease.

Dr Ronald Evans, study author and director of the Salk Institute’s Gene Expression Laboratory, said: ‘The balance of microbes in the gut is shaped by diet, and we are discovering how alterations in the gut microbial population (the gut microbiome) can create problems that lead to cancer.

‘This paves the way toward interventions that decrease cancer risk.’

Other explanations include the overuse of antibiotics and fungal infections in the intestines.

Dr Suneel Kamath, an oncologist specializing in colorectal cancers at the Cleveland Clinic, previously told DailyMail.com: ‘What we suspect is happening is that when there’s excess antibiotic use, there is a change in what was a normal, healthy microbiome, and then bad pathogens, if you will, get introduced into that.

‘Those can trigger inflammation or other things that cause mutations in cells.

‘[These] can lead to an overdrive of the cell sort of dividing and replacing itself — and when you do that faster than you should, that can lead to mutations occurring and then tumors forming as a result.’


Denial of responsibility! Elite News is an automatic aggregator of Global media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, and all materials to their authors. For any complaint, please reach us at – [email protected]. We will take necessary action within 24 hours.
DMCA compliant image

Leave a comment