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Fear of bowel cancer is making me not want to be here anymore


I’ve literally just made this account because I have nobody else to talk to. I’m so so scared. For the last few years I’ve suffered with severe health anxiety. In the last couple of years this has been fear of having bowel cancer. I’m only 26 and no family history but I’ve literally been so afraid of having it. It started a few years ago I had haemorrhoids and saw some blood when I wiped. They sent me to Google which came up with all the worst scenarios and ever since then I’ve been examining every time I go (gross I know) to the point of obsession where I had panic attacks when I thought I saw something that appeared red. I saw three doctors about this and I’ve had 1 sigmoidoscopy and 2 colonoscopies.
The first being in 2019, then 2020 and the most recent being 3 weeks ago. All of them came back normal expect for haemorrhoids. However after some time I start to panic again. After having the last one done I panicked when I saw the report and they said the bowel prep was “fair” meaning they could adequately see. This made me panic because I got scared they missed something but I already had a “fair” prep on my colonoscopy before in 2020 so then I thought that surely they would have seen something on those two times if there was anything. Anyway these last few days I’ve been seeing black specks when I wipe and I’ve been crying non stop thinking this is it and I’m going to die. I’m already thinking of going back for another colonoscopy. This fear is making me severely unhappy and I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m sorry this is long but I’m really struggling and need support.

  1. Dealing with health anxiety is so hard, I feel you. 🙁 You're not alone. I get that, too, and at times my anxiety gets so bad that I actually start experiencing symptoms, even though nothing's wrong. Since you already had a colonoscopy very recently and they didn't find anything, I would assume that it's just the anxiety that's making you feel like you're sick and the scanning for symptoms doesn't help. If you're really worried about the black specks, you could maybe ask for a stool test to determine if it's blood? I just googled it and there seems to be a test for that. That would be less invasive than another colonoscopy.
    Do you have any techniques that help you deal with your health anxiety? This is just my experience, but I've found that seeing doctors and doing tests didn't actually help me, and I always need to re-learn to trust my body in order to feel better. EFT tapping is very helpful for me when I start spiraling (like this video: I imagine that therapy might be helpful, too. I personally would focus on getting the anxiety under control rather than doing more tests, at least for me that would work better. Please let me know if this helps at all.
    I'm also going to link a couple of forums from other community members who also talked about health anxiety, just so you know that you're not alone:,,, Sending big hugs, Karina (team member)

    1. Hi. I really feel for you.. I have ibs for at least 40 years and like you feared it was something else. After so many trips to a and e and several colonoscopies I was sent for cognitive behavioral therapy. It did help a bit but still continued worrying which in turn makes ibs worse. You are very young to have this constant fear and you need to talt to your doctor and get the help you need. I wish I knew all those years ago that all my worrying was a waste of energy. I'm still here and I still have ibs. Please seek help from your gp.

      1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. How are you coping now? Did you find ways to alleviate the constant fear? All the best, Karina (team member)

    2. I'm a Christian and my faith has helped me. I think I've seen so many people with illnesses who get better including my husband who did have bowel cancer 18 years ago. I worried then and it just made me ill. I realise at long last no one can add a single day to their lives by worrying. So now I go straight to docs and get things sorted instead of worrying about what might be. It's taken me years though and I still do worry but I try not to let it take over

      1. That's so true, worrying doesn't actually help anyone. Thank you so much for sharing your story and how you cope! How have you been doing lately? Karina (team member)

    3. I completely and totally get your fear and pain. Over a year ago a friend of mine was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Since I also suffer from bad haemorrhoids (which bleed), I started thinking the worst about my bowel health. I was convinced that as my friend (who is younger than me) can suffer from this horrible disease it can happen to me. Since then, my mental health/health anxiety spiralled out of control. I got to the point where I was suffering physically and mentally, I visited the doctors numerous times, and eventually was referred for various blood and stool tests. Thankfully all my results came back normal, but the fear of having bowel cancer never went away (although the gastroenterologist diagnosed my condition as IBS). The doctors constantly re-assured me not to worry about my fear of bowel cancer. However, over the last few months, and many many hours of googling how to improve my digestive and gut health, I have started taking pre and probiotics, beta-glucans, and even started hypnotherapy and mind relaxation techniques. I would say now that 80-90% of my fear is the constant urge of my IBS making me go to the toilet. The other 10-20% is the fear that remains about my gut health and bowel cancer. 9 times out of ten, and like you, I spend a number of minutes checking my stool (yes, not a nice thought). What I would say to help you is take re-assurance from all the tests you’ve had which have come back normal. And the specks in your stool now could be a result of something you’ve eaten or caused by your stress and worry about your gut health. If you look and feel normal, it’s likely this will be nothing to worry about. Hope this has helped.

      1. at the moment my therapist and I working on compassion and the 4 R’s techniques (relabelling, re attributing, refocusing, revaluing) to help me cope with my negative thoughts. I don’t know if you are the same, but I always have almost panic attack like symptoms when I reflect and think about my previous flare-ups and how bad they were. I fear they will occur again, and I just don’t want them to. But those techniques when used do help. If you Google Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz Four Steps, this may help when you go through a bad moment.

      2. Yes, that's exactly how I feel, too! It almost feels like PTSD from past flares... I'll look into that, thank you so much! Karina (team member)

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