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Colon Cancer/Malabsorption

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Question
Hi Dr.
I am 56, no major health issues except hypertension which is being treated. I have a family history of colorectal cancer, my Dad and both uncles succombed in their 40's, so naturally I am a bit obsessed by my digestion and bowel movements.
Everything has been good until a couple years ago when I noticed undigested food in my stool. This has become more noticeable lately, and food seems to pass through me a lot quicker. Also, though not gaining weight, My belly is bigger and I am generally always a bit bloated, and pretty much get bloated after every meal. I have narrowed the culprits down to red meat and fat, which I have abstained from, and this has improved things, but the stool thing still bothers me.
Is this called malabsorption, and is it related at all to colorectal cancer? Could it instead be a symptom of poor stomach, pancreas or liver function?
My wife, the wise nurse, says I probably have mild pancreatitis (possibly from alcohol, I tend to overdrink), and my pancreas is not producing enough digestive enzymes. In fact, when I take the store bought digestive enzymes she buys, things look better.
Thanks for you opinion!

Answer
Your wife may very well be right. If you KNOW - which you seem to do - that you drink too much, the logical step would be to drink less, right?! If you do have a pancreatic problem due to drinking you most probably should stop drinking all together! The effect of those enzymes that your wife has supplied you with does support this theory. If you adjusted to a diet thanks to your problems I do not think that this would be too difficult. Not much is absorbed in the colon except water. So as you write your absorption problem is probably located higher up! And your pancreas is a possibility. It is also made more probable by what you have told me. So these problems are not related to colon cancer. However with your kind of family history of colon cancer I do urge you to have your colon checked regularly by colonoscopy, let us say once per year from now on! It is the best available way to try to avoid nasty surprises! I am sorry if you find my message frank and blunt! It is! But in my experience that is better than to sugarcoat things! Good luck!




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Colon Cancer

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Claes-Gustaf Nordquist, M.D.

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I`m a doctor of medicine and a specialist in radiation therapy and medical oncology. I have long experience with regards to this cancer.

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I'm a Doctor of Medicine and specialist in Medical Oncology and Radiation Therapy educated & trained in Sweden. Now retired. Background in Radiation Therapy, Medical Oncology, Radiation Protection, Nuclear Medicine, Diagnostic Radiology, Gynecological Oncology, Clinical Pathology, Clinical Cytology,Hematology and Internal Medicine. M.D. from the faculty of medicine, Royal Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. Have also been an exchange student at the Hebrew University, Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem Israel. Former medical consultant, Swedish National Board of Radiation Protection. Former Police Surgeon and Medical Examiner, Stockholm Police Department. Former Chief Medical Officer, The Royal Guards, The Royal Horse Guards and the Royal Household Brigade, Royal Swedish Army Medical Corps. You can also reach me on: http://www.lifestylerescue.com/expert/health-fitness-advice/dr-claes-gustaf/128 I have no restrictions on the number of questions there.

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