21 year old female, terrified I have pancreatic cancer!

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Just putting it out there - I have suffered with health anxiety in the past but I'm so convinced I have something wrong this time.

For a month now I have had left side pain, in my back and stomach between ribs and hip bone. The pain is dull and persistent - not bad. I can continue as normal, working out, running, going to work, etc. It doesn't seem to get better or worse, just stays at around 2/10 in terms of pain. A hot water bottle numbs it. It's worth noting I cannot stop thinking about this pain so I don't know how much is in my head. The other symptoms I have is my stools are yellow and floating and I seem to be going a lot more than normal. My full blood test will come back tomorrow, they are checking liver function, blood count, coeliac disease (which my sister has) and ESR (?) I think that's what it's called anyway.

Other than the pain and my stools, I'm literally fine. Sleeping well, not losing weight and I feel hungrier than ever! No loss of appetite or anything. I'm not jaundiced or itchy, I don't feel sick, can keep food down, good mood except being anxious.

I also realise being a 21 year old vegetarian female (non smoke &a light drinker) who excercises regularly puts me at very low risk. I've looked at stats and only 23 females per year in my age group are diagnosed in the UK annually. All the same I'm so irrationally scared. Do you think I'm just anxious? I know the stomach pain could be just about anything and everything (ovarian cysts have been ruled out) - I'm also aware my yellow stools could be anxiety / coeliac.

What's everyone's thoughts?

Thank you in advance!

0 likes, 35 replies

35 Replies

  • Posted

    Forstår of all im truely sorry to hear about the things you're going trough. But with that bring said, im happy that you posted your concerns. The last three weeks i have been on this forum several times a day hoping to find someone who is going trough the same as me, but with no kick. But now it seems like i have.

    Im 22 years old male and since xmas i have suffered with the same issues. Im am also terrified about possible pancreatic cancer. So i know how you feel and im right there with you. I have had a few regular blood test done, but so far nothing has come up remarkable.

    - if i may ask, How is the colour of your urine and How is the shape and form of your stools?

    • Posted

      Urine is completely normal - I've not noticed a difference and they did a urine test to rule out kidney infection which came back clear.

      My stools have been floating and are solid ish but ragged edges that seem to break up in the toilet - toilet water has also been discolored from it at points.

      Do you think it's just anxiety for us? I did read anxiety can cause yellow stools because of fight / flight mode and it passing through too quickly as blood is directed to other organs.

    • Posted

      I truely hope it is caused by anxiety, but im really seeking some reinsurrance on that before i will be able to relax. I have also read a lot about anxiety, but i have never experienced anxiety in the past and i only started being anxious when my symptoms began, but the body is a weird instrument so who knows.

      Can you desribe how your pain is like?

      Mine is dull most of the times and almost all day, but sometimes i get a sharp/stabbing pain both in my stomach, side and back. Mostly back just feels achy.

    • Posted

      Hiya. My pain is exactly the same as yours 100% word for word. It's reassuring you have the same symptoms - I'm sure a liver function test would show some sort of abnormality from what I've read in the biribulum / liapase (excuse my horrific spelling can't be bothered to find the right word) levels.

      I've also been trying to reassure myself in the fact that I'm healthy otherwise. Are you going to return to the doctors? Thanks!

    • Posted

      In my latest blood they tested CRP and Bilirubin, which in some cases of problems with the pancreas would be elevated, but not always, which kind a freaks me out. The thing that bugs me the most is that it is so hard to detect and find cancer in the pancreas because the usual bloodwork in many cases doesnt necessarily show anything suspicious and therefore by the time where you finally get a CT scan or another imaginary method it is too late. That really scares me.

      The thing is that i initially went to my doctor after 2 weeks and told her all my issues and concern about cancer and she looked at me and said;''mh you are to young to have anything serious, come back if it keeps bothering you''. I went home just to realise over the next few days that the pain increased. Therefore i went back and said that her previous answer wasn't acceptable and i wanted a further investigation. She said ok and reffered me to a gastroscopy 14 days after (which actually is tommorow morning). So tommorow im having a gastroscopy and some more specific bloodwork done.

      How about you?

    • Posted

      Well I had my ovarian ultrasound which came back clear - I went back and she started speaking about IBS etc as they do. I explained I was concerned as I don't generally suffer with stomach pain which is when she sent me for bloods. Results should be in tomorrow afternoon - so I will ring and leave an update. If they come back clear (including coeliac) I will be returning. My problem is I am leaving to travel Asia for 10 months on 20th Feb and realistically want to solve it by then but with the NHS waiting times for tests and referrals I'm not holding out much hope. My parents aren't concerned but said they would be willing to pay for private investigation in a couple of weeks if I'm still concerned. I'm hoping I can wake up one day and the pain goes. Because it's in such a broad area I suppose it could be a number of different things. Have you read up on diverticulitis at all?

    • Posted

      Bloods came back completely normal. Another doctors appointment Tuesday next week.

      Anxiety coming and going... seem to be getting new symptoms now of lower back pain and acid reflux which is making me panic. I know if I got it aged 21 it would be so unlikely it's untrue!

    • Posted

      Im glad to hear that your bloodwork came back normal. Thats always a good sign. Dont worry too much about the fact that the pain is spreading. Mine has also spread to all over my back both lower and upper. 

      I had my gastroscopy done yesterday, btw. the most uncomfortable thing i have ever tried. i was litterally gurgling in my own vomit seven minutes in a row. Anyhow, they didnt fint anything in my stomach og colon, but i actually wasnt really worried about that, because my concerns are my pancreas. That concern got even bigger when they told me that some om my liver levels were slightly increased. But im hoping to schedule an ultrasound of my abdomen as soon as possible. 

    • Posted

      Sorry to hear the gatroscopy didn't go well, I can't imagine it was pleasant! Just some more reassurance - in the age group 20-39, only 23 males get diagnosed per year, and most of them are around the 35+ mark.

      The more I've been reading, the more I realise it could be anything in the endocrine system. Potentially problems with gallstones? Or like I said before, anxiety could be an issue. Where are you going from here?

  • Posted

    I to am scared I have pancreatic cancer. It has consumed my life. My symptoms are as yours but come and go. I have normal stools and blood test came back normal I had a CT scan on my gallbladder and that was normal. I don't know what to think anymore I'm terrified 24/7

    • Posted

      Hi Wayne, I'm sorry to hear you feel anxious. Please believe when I say I understand where you are coming from and have been / am still there myself.

      As time goes on I try to focus on getting my anxiety under control before even thinking of my symptoms.

      All I will say is pancreatic cancer is a extremely rare in anyone under 50 really. Most people who get it have no idea there's anything wrong until they turn yellow, and yes, some experience stomach pain but it is usually onset suddenly, randomly, quite severe and doesn't leave you.

      Recently I have come to the conclusion that most of life will unfold in accordance with forces far outside your control, regardless of what your mind says about it. I believe genuinely and whole heartedly that our symptoms are being played out by our minds. Yes, there may be a slight pain, a niggle, a tension but our mind creates it into something so much worse.

      You have had a CT scan too! The best possible thing to look for pancreatic cancer! I'm still on blood work &I under the diagnosis of IBS.

      Your body is smarter than you give it credit for & I'm certain if you really did have anything the symptoms would be far worse. Weight loss, fatigue, prone to infection, lack of appetite, bruising, severe pain, jaundice. All we have is a mild ache in a place where the pancreas happens to be. I genuinely wouldn't even be worried if this pain was anywhere else in my body. Google is not my friend.

      Hope this helps and all the best.


    • Posted

      Lucy this is an incredible comment. Thank you for saying this.  It is true that the forces of nature are out of our control.  I am working on accepting this so I can live life to its fullest. I have been terrified I have pancreatic cancer as well...  I'm 33. What's the latest with you? How are you managing your anxiety now? 

  • Posted

    Hi Lucy. I too am a 21 year old female in the same boat. I have had terrible health anxiety for a number of years now, and for this past year it's been revolving around pancreatic cancer. It has ruined my life. The fear and worry is more than I can handle and sometimes I wish I never existed in the first place. Sorry for throwing a pity party here. It's just hard to feel so powerless and out of control and to never have a single day go by without obsessing over dying a painful and horrible death soon.

    I have also been having nagging pains like yours, and some random bouts of diarrhea. I wish you all the best with your health.

    • Posted

      Luna I am sorry to hear about your anxiety. It's difficult to cope with, particularly when people get fed up of reassuring you!

      Just an idea... I visited a chiropractor on Monday. She was very helpful, reassuring and I opened up about my health anxiety. She took down my whole medical history and then had a look at my back. She said I was very tense which can cause so many symptoms and gave me an adjustment (no bone cracking, just very subtle movements) - since then (touch wood) I have been almost pain free in my tummy. I also feel a lot less anxious - she used to be a nurse and was able to reassure me. Maybe worth a try for you as well?

      Good luck xxx

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