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Thread: Ongoing HA Issues - pancreatic, stomach or bowel cancer

  1. #1

    Ongoing HA Issues - pancreatic, stomach or bowel cancer


    Long post alert - apologies in advance.

    My first time back on here for three years - previous posts around rectal and esophageal cancer fears - both proven unfounded. I am 55 year old male, suffered from severe HA since a child.

    Since then I have been on two types of medication - Escilatopram and then Buspirone, for the HA. Escilatopram certainly helped the HA massively, but came with other downsides (numbness, weight gain, loss of libido), so I stopped. Buspirone also helped, but caused huge mood swings / anger, so I also stopped that about four weeks ago. I have also had a number of CBT sessions with a psychologist which have been useful, but have not fixed the issue.

    Since stopping the anxiety meds, I have developed vague abdominal discomfort in upper left area that is also in back, but it moves all around the abdomen (sometimes worse after eating - not pain, just a 'vague discomfort'). I was put on Nexium about four years ago due to hiatal hernia and mild gastritis. I also started taking probiotics recently. I have also been eating more sensibly, which has resulted in some weight loss (around 3-4kg in two months, from 92 - 88.5 kg). My HA mind has now leapt to catastrophising over pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer or bowel cancer. I have no rectal bleeding or dramatic changes in bowel habits. While I was initially happy with the weight loss, it has now converted into panic that it is a sign of an underlying cancer (my mistake was probably in buying a set of scales).

    I resort to obsessively self-testing with a BP monitor, SpO2 monitor and glucose testing - all seem to be within normal limits. Also, feeling abdomen all the time, checking skin for signs of jaundice, etc. Too scared to go to GP for fear of worst news. Some questions for other sufferers:

    1. Why, when I have been through this so many times before, do I repeat the same thoughts and not be able to rationalise?
    2. Are any of the symptoms described indicative of cancer? My fear is based on horror tabloid stories of people with 'vague symptoms' who find out they're Stage 4 of some type of cancer with weeks to live.
    3. Am I manifesting these symptoms through hyper-focus? I feel like if I shifted the focus to my big toe, I could develop 'cancer' there.
    4. Any success stories with other meds? I am speaking to my psychiatrist next week about Citalopram - in the hope that it will be as effective as Escilatopram, but without the side-effects.

    I can't continue with the constant feeling that I have a deadly illness - it isn't helpful to anyone and puts immense pressure on my partner who struggles to understand.

    The other problem is that each time it happens, rather than saying "but you've been through this before", instead I resort to "but it really is something awful this time".

    I don't expect any magic bullets, but any words of wisdom from experience would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2016

    Re: Ongoing HA Issues - pancreatic, stomach or bowel cancer

    Oh man, I remember the issues I had when I started to lose weight. Gastric problems, abdominal pain/pain after eating, flank pain, etc. The doctor happily explained it all away and once my eating stabalized and my body got used to me eating better, everything settled down.

    You have zero symptoms of any of the cancers you've mentioned. You're absolutely fine and believe me, I know how hard it is to accept that. The amount of GP appointments I've had this year is beyond ridiculous; it's to the point the receptionist knows my name when I call to make an appointment without me even having to tell her.

    Health anxiety is evil. We can manage it but I think it's extremely difficult to completely overcome it and that's why our minds can slip so easily when it comes to being able to sensibly rationalise. I dare say it'll always be a part of us but you know what we do? We constantly fight to put it back in the box instead of it being free to roam.

  3. #3

    Re: Ongoing HA Issues - pancreatic, stomach or bowel cancer

    Thanks so much Jase for the reply - it provides real comfort that someone entirely understands and has been through similar. I am hoping that new meds next week will help keep it in its box, as I havenít yet succeeded in over 50 years. As you say, HA is evil.

  4. #4

    Re: Ongoing HA Issues - pancreatic, stomach or bowel cancer

    I feel you. How are you now?

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