Toilet Paper Can Disguise Cancer Sign: Doctor
Blood in the toilet bowl could actually be red ink, he says
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2014 4:14 PM CST

(Newser) – What looks like blood in your toilet bowl could actually be red ink seeping from your toilet paper, says colorectal surgeon Guy Nash—but he's still upset about it. That's because people who use toilet paper decorated in red may think they're seeing blood in the toilet when there isn't any, and vice versa. At stake is a possible colon-cancer diagnosis. "Those patients bleeding will miss real blood, and those not bleeding will report 'blood' in the toilet mistakenly," Nash tells LiveScience.

"In my view, it is irresponsible of the makers to have not considered this," he said. But not all medical experts are on board: "I think it's nonsense," said a New York gastroenterologist who has never seen red blood confused with red-colored toilet paper. In any case, says Nash, "If someone sees blood, they should call their doctor, not panic, and have it appropriately evaluated." Even then, rectal bleeding is fairly common and is usually caused by a small anal tear or a swollen blood vessel—not colon cancer, notes WebMD.

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Showing 3 of 41 comments
Jan 29, 2014 1:47 PM CST
If you walk into a guy's bathroom and see pink Charmin on his toilet roller, you best run, run away....very fast. ha
Jan 25, 2014 5:25 PM CST
I've never seen bathroom tissue that is red - and I certainly would never buy it if I did see it. My father died of colon cancer at the age of 58 and, as a result, I am undergo a colonoscopy every five years. The last time I was polyp free - but not so the first two times I had the procedure done. I shudder to think what would have happened to me if I hadn't caught those polyps early. Check your toilet regularly after use for any abnormalities and blood in the stool. Preventative care is key to avoiding colon cancer, and knowing what to look for, especially if you have a history of cancer in your family. Take care of yourself... and certainly stay away from tissue that can mask a potential problem.
Jan 22, 2014 5:35 PM CST
We had colored toilet paper in the 70s.