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Millbury, MA
A 43-year-old female asked:

what is tested when you are asked to give a stool sample? is there something that alerts them to any types of cancer in the test?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ankush Bansal
Internal Medicine 17 years experience
See below: If the stool sample is to check for blood, then that is all that is tested for. Presence of blood, even microscopic, can be a suggestion for possible cancer. It can also be due to hemorrhoids, anal fissures, constipation, or intestinal infections. If colon cancer, the type/stage cannot be determined from the stool sample. That is why a colonoscopy is then done if the stool sample is + for blood.
Dr. Mark Grenitz
Obstetrics and Gynecology 9 years experience
Blood in Stool: The most common test would be for blood in the stool. This can be a sign of colon polyps or cancer. It is also possible to test for certain types of intestinal infections in a stool sample. Stool blood testing is commonly done on people who have no symptoms. Testing for infection is usually part of the evaluation of symptoms (such as diarrhea).

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Similar questions

A 34-year-old member asked:

Are there other causes of bloody stools besides cancer?

2 doctor answers9 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ronald Kline
Specializes in Colon and Rectal Surgery
Yes: Blood in the stool may be from diverticulosis, a benign condition. Large polyps can cause bloody stools as can large internal hemorrhoids.
A female asked:

Other then cancer, what else can cause thin stools?

1 doctor answer3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Peter Sadow
Pathology 17 years experience
Thin stool: Based on your question, it seems as though you're asking about stool caliber (diameter) rather than consistency (solid/liquid) when you say "thin". Anything that narrows the diameter of the canal can narrow diameter, often hemorrhoids. If loose stools, diet and infections are common causes.
A 37-year-old member asked:

Are white steaks in feces a sign of cancer?

1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Uma Swamy
Radiation Oncology 16 years experience
Unlikely: Any persistent change in your bowel movements should be evaluated by your doctor.
A 31-year-old member asked:

If I have occaisional thin stools, could it be cancer?

1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Myron Arlen
Surgical Oncology 64 years experience
Possible: thin stools suggest narrowing of bowel but this should be constant and if a tumor present there should be progression. If this doesn't change on diet then one should consider colonoscopy. In future a simple stool test will tell whether colon cancer protein present in stool and therefore if there is a lesion present or not.
CA
A 26-year-old male asked:

I have flat stool mixed with some normal stool? Should I be worried about cancer?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Tadge Kanjo
General Surgery 23 years experience
Cancer unlikely: While it is possible, it is extremely rare to see colon cancer in a 26 year old. Colon ca can cause a mechanical obstruction resulting in narrow stool. It is a constant rather than intermittent problem. Change in bowel habits can result from dietary changes, dehydration, stress, as well as other diseases of the colon such as inflammatory bowel disease. Ask your doctor is it continues.

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Last updated Nov 20, 2014
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