Woman hospitalised after her faeces turns silver in rare cancer side effect

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A woman in Washington DC has been hospitalised after her poo turned silver.

The 69-year-old woman, who is unnamed, was taken to the emergency room at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, according to a case report published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The woman had metastatic colon cancer, but had also been suffering from dizziness for two weeks.

In addition, doctors noted that she had ‘unusually coloured stool’, with a silver hue.

Tests of her faeces revealed that there was blood present, while an X-ray on her abdomen and pelvis found that her cancer had spread to her liver.

The doctors also found a ‘cecal mass’, or colorectal tumour.

The team believes that the woman’s faeces turned silver due to a combination of jaundice and black colouring in her faeces, as a result of the medication she was on.

Sadly, after discussions, the doctors decided with her that the best option was hospice care.

The team wrote: “After a discussion of treatment options with the patient, a decision was made to focus on her comfort.”

While faeces comes in a range of colours, you should speak to your doctor if you stool is red or black.

Dr Michael F. Picco, a doctor with the Mayo Clinic, explained: “Stool colour is generally influenced by what you eat as well as by the amount of bile — a yellow-green fluid that digests fats — in your stool. As bile pigments travel through your gastrointestinal tract, they are chemically altered by enzymes, changing the pigments from green to brown.

“Consult your doctor if you’re concerned about your stool color. If your stool is bright red or black — which may indicate the presence of blood — seek prompt medical attention.”

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