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I have a hx of rectal cancer diagnosed at age 42 but tested negative for genetic causes. I now have a 15 year old with rectal bleeding.  He has had this on and off for a year or so, before was only with constipation and when he didn't go for a couple of days, then he would say it hurt so bad to go so docs assumed hemmorhoids or fissure. xray was negative except for a lot of stool. hgb was normal. then the constipation stopped, he had surgery for inguinal hernia and still no constipation even after using narcotics post surgery.  

now he is 2 weeks with bleeding after every time.  He said it is sometimes bright red, sometimes a little darker red.  Is in toilet bowl and on toilet paper. Brought him to doc again who did a quick digital exam and looked around and he said he didn't see anything obvious, so because of my history they are sending us to a pediatric gastroenterologist for colonoscopy.  We cannot get in for a few weeks and we sit here in limbo worrying.  What are the odds this could be a polyp or cancer in a 15 year old. he does not have mucous, abdominal pain,diarrhea or any thing suggestive of inflammation or other and with no obvious hemorrhoids although we do have a family history of crohns with my mom ,aunt, and cousin with it.  I am concerned.

Hi, tammy,

Unexplained rectal bleeding in kids this age is seldom due to cancer.  It is far more likely this is a polyp or possibly something like Crohns disease.  A good exam by a skilled peds gastroenterologist should discover the cause.  Cancer would be at the bottom of the list, although possible and a bit more likely due to your history.

Good luck, and feedback re this cause to me is always appreciated, Dr. Olson


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David Olson, MD


I would be happy to attempt to answer any questions about general pediatric topics, either medical issues or behavioral issues. This would include all the various questions one receives in a busy pediatric practice. I`m a board certified pediatrician in northern Michigan and have been in practice for over 15 years. I enjoy the teaching role I have in our practice and would enjoy the opportunity to help others with their pediatric problems.

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