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Are FLOATING stools early sign of CANCER?

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52 y/o Caucasian male, 5'10" 225 pounds, non smoker, drinker- professional. I use my home gym 3-4 times per week doing cardio and light weights. I am currently eating protein, fruits and vegetables and I sleep about 6 hours per night. I take a multivitamin, 2000 iu Vitamin C, 400 CoQ10, 2000 iu Vitamin D, 200 Lysiene and 2 baby ASA at night before bed. Most recent labs in June 2014.. Alkaline phosphatase 62, AST 22, ALT 29, bilirubin .6... more data available if needed Also, I have not lost any weight other than dieting and then gaining it back again :-)

My question is in regards to floating stool. My stool floats 75-80% of the time. It has normal brown color and is well shaped as per the Bristol chart. (I believe 3-4). I have normal bowel movements 3-4 times per day (that's my norm) and things are evacuated with normal effort. About 7 months ago I had a slight case of hypochondria when I learned that a good friend of mine had terminal cancer. I've since rectified this issue until my brother- 50 y/o obese male was recently diagnosed with carcinoid cancer in his large intestine and liver. Being that this is a neuro endocrine tumor, this has weighed on my mind.....are my floating stools an early sign of some pathology? Is this worth testing?

I read that floating stool can be due to pancreatic issues,and other malabsorption disorders. Then I read that the NEJM says that floating stools are completely normal.

So I'd like to put this issue at rest one way or the other ie., I'm within the normal range or I should have things checked out?


Category: Gastroenterologist, Medical

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Category: Hepatologist
 25 Doctors Online

Thanks for posting your query at
I am Dr.R.K and I am pleased to assist you.
Floating stool indicates either there is excess fat in stool or there is excess gas in it.
Excess fat could be due to fat malabsorption or increased intake of fatty food (with normal digestion and absorption). Pancreatic issue is one of the causes of fat malabsorption.
Increased gas can due to intake of large about fiber or could be due to infection.
A simple thing you can do is get your stool analysis done. If the stool analysis shows normal fat excretion and no infection, then you need not worry.
I hope that answers your question.
Let me know if I can assist you further.

Patient replied :

Thank you for your reply. So should I schedule with my PCP and ask for a stool analysis based on the symptom of floating stools?

Yes you can schedule with your PCP and get the stool analysis done.
After you have reports let me know,

Dr. Ratnakar Kini
Category: Hepatologist
Fellowship - DM - TN Dr.MGR Medical UniversityResidency - TN Dr.MGR Medical University Medical School - Stanely Medical College, TN Dr.MGR Medical University
Dr. Ratnakar Kini and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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