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Old 01-11-2007, 11:40 PM   #1
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Colonoscopy Question Please?

My PCP Doctor wants to do a Colonoscopy on me and I say no way. From my research of Colon Cancer I do not have one symptom of any colon cancer problems.

I did ask him why a Colonoscopy, he said, to rule out colon cancer. I could understand totally if I had problems in this area of my body but I don't, so why the Colonoscopy? Is it because of my age? I'm 49 Female.

I also read that they can do a stool sample to see if one has colon cancer, is this correct?

Any input would be greatly appericated.
Thanks,
Sabrina

 
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Old 01-12-2007, 02:02 AM   #2
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Re: Colonoscopy Question Please?

Yes, I think it's your age. I believe you are supposed to start getting screened at age 45.

 
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Old 01-12-2007, 09:48 AM   #3
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Re: Colonoscopy Question Please?

Colonoscopy can detect and remove cancers 10 years before symptoms appear. Once symptoms do appear, the cancer can be advanced to a deadly stage. That's why your MD wants to do it now. The prime age for discovery of colon cancer is 60 and later. Screening c'pies at 50 will prevent at least 50% of the fatalities from this dreadful disease.

No one wants to have this test done. I had my first screening done a year ago, at my primary's insistence. "You're at that age, you know", he kept saying. Finally, he ordered me to have it done by the time of my next checkup in 3 months. For some reason, the firmness in his voice struck me, and I "obeyed".

The test was not what I'd call fun, but it certainly wasn't horrible, as I believed it would be. Because this one found no polyps or other signs of disease, I don't have to do it again for 5-10 more years. It gave me absolute peace of mind, since my dad had a history of colon polyps. Five to 10 more years... How bad is that?

Like Nike says... Just do it. You'll be fine.

Edited to add ~ I mentioned a family history of colon polyps, but I want to stress that it is NOT necessary to have a family history to get polyps or colon cancer. It just increases the risk a bit.

Last edited by midwest1; 01-12-2007 at 10:02 AM.

 
Old 01-21-2007, 08:08 PM   #4
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Re: Colonoscopy Question Please?

midwest is right.....colonoscopies detect polyps before they turn into cancer...as well as find cancers. word to the wise.....just have it done.

last january...my sister was taken to the ER thinking she was severely constipated. she was in pure agony with pain....like labor pains that came and went and were severe. we learned that she had stage 3 colon cancer. she came through the surgery alright....and has to wear a colostomy bag temporarily. my sister was ONLY 46 years old at diagnosis...meaning....it probably started developing when she was around 35 years old. she didnt have any real signs/symptoms....just bad constipation here and there over a few months...and weight loss...but that was chalked up to be due to her job. no other symptoms were present...and as i said...she was at stage 3 cancer!

we have no family history with polyps or colon cancer....this was an absolute first...a very shocking first. seeing all that she has had to go through....wearing the colostomy bag via a hole on her stomach..her poop goes to this bag....and she has to change it frequently. imagine wearing this bag on your stomach 24/7...never a break.....

so dont think of this "test" as a nuisance or whatever......think of it as potentially saving your life....as well as saving your from having to go through all of the ordeals that comes along with colon cancer. theres more to cancer than just surgeries and chemo/radiation. . some are "lucky" and only have to wear the bag a few months....some have to wear it the rest of their lives.

because my sister got colon cancer, i have been advised to get the colonoscopy done 10 years to the age prior to her diagnosis....in another words....since she was diagnosed when she was 46.....i need to have a colonoscopy done when i turn 36...next year. and believe you me....i do NOT want to have it done either.....i am truly dreading it and chicken to have it done....but you know what??? no matter what...i will have it done....because i do not want to endure what my sister has had to go through.

Last edited by ladybug8372; 01-25-2007 at 09:17 AM.

 
Old 01-21-2007, 11:06 PM   #5
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Re: Colonoscopy Question Please?

I'm sorry I missed this sooner. Please get a colonoscopy. I had rectal bleeding, doctor stuck a tube up my tail pipe and confirmed I had hemerroids, and were the cause of my rectal bleeding. All thoses test used to determine where you need a colonoscopy or have colon cancer came back clean for me. My doctor figured this rectal bleeding would be a good excuse to get my baseline done early in life. At the age of 46, I was diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer. No family history. My husband at the age of 47, was diagnosed with precancer polyps (he had no symptoms nor family history of colon cancer). My sister in law at the age of 44 had 3 polyps removed ( again no symptoms and no history) My brother was was the only person to come out clean (yet he and both had rectal bleeding due to hemerroids).

Personally I believe people should have colonoscopy by age 35, if not sooner.

Lee

 
Old 01-23-2007, 09:26 PM   #6
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Thumbs down Re: Colonoscopy Question Please?

A Colonoscopy is a very serious procedure. You are responsible for your health. If I were you I would request the doctor to get you copies of the procedure consent forms you would have to sign before the procdedure. Read them now before the day of the procedure. Read them before you are dehydrated, tired, weak, and generally not in a state to make a decision to sign the consent forms. I had 4 consent forms. One several sheets long with great detail, one to allow a transfusion (think about it), and one was a privacy consent form. Finally, when I was all tied up with tubes and Oxygen the technician came and asked me to sign a release for the anesthsia.

I was not happy with the Professionalism of the procedure.

 
Old 01-24-2007, 12:05 AM   #7
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Re: Colonoscopy Question Please?

I am 36 yrs old and recently had my first colonoscopy. I was motivated to have it due to my father's recent diagnosis of rectal cancer, as well as my history of rectal bleeding. As it turned out, my test results only confirmed hemorrhoids. There were no polyps found. I now have tremendous peace of mind. I think this feeling is priceless.

In regards to the discomfort of having a colonoscopy, it's not that bad. As is often stated, the prep is the worst part. Spending an evening pooping in the bathroom is not my idea of a fun time. But you just have to keep things in perspective. Being treated for rectal cancer would be a far worse alternative. The test itself is barely felt. I had some gas pains/cramping, but I understand that this is not that common. Most people don't feel anything due to the semi-conscious state. Even the gas pain I felt was nothing compared to labor pain.

I found that the procedure was handled very professionally. The nursing staff made me feel very comfortable. I was worried about feeling embarassed by the indignity of the procedure, but never felt anything like that. I highly recommend that everyone get one upon the advice of their doctor! It could save your life.

 
Old 01-24-2007, 10:33 AM   #8
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Re: Colonoscopy Question Please?

I believe the risk of perforation (and other complications) is being greatly under-reported by the medical profession. When a perferation does occur
you don't need an operation, you need at least 2 operations. One to repair the tear and install a temp colostomy, and the second to (hopefully) reverse the temp colostomy. If the second is unsuccessful, the colostomy becomes permanent.

It seems doctors want people to "just do it" without providing all the info including the pros and cons of the procedure. They certainly don't dwell on the risks. If complications are being under-reported (which I certainly believe) then the benefit/risk is not what they claim.

I'm 51 (will turn 52 in June) and haven't had a colonoscopy, and I doubt I will ever consent to one. I'm hoping that a non-invasive test will be available soon
that will replace conventional colonoscopy. There is a FOBT being developed that detects cancer cells DNA markers. This test is already about 75% accurate and is being improved rapidly. Hopefully this test will be available soon and will replace conventional colonoscopy as the standard of care for CRC screening. Not for diagnostic/therapeutic care but for screening.

Performing colonoscopies makes up about 80% of a GI Doctor's income. Obviously they have a financial interest in getting people screened.
The GI specialty has pooh-poohed the virtual colonoscopy. Could it have anything to do with the fact that the VC is done by a radiologist rather than A GI ??

drive-south

 
Old 01-24-2007, 11:44 AM   #9
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Re: Colonoscopy Question Please?

In spite of the rare occurrences when there are complications from having a colonoscopy, I would agree with the other posters who advise you to have it done. The alternative is not pleasant as we see from others on this board.

Ladybug 8732 spells it out in great detail and I have a concern with that. There are many on this board, or maybe just joining, who have colonoscopies coming up (including me!) and are anxious about the results. I realize the reason for the horrendous picture you paint is to encourage colonoscopies, but there are many on this board who, though they would not choose to have a colostomy, have managed to adapt to in and encourage others to do so too. Your description made my very depressed though, as I say, I know that was not your intention.

Love and prayers and encouragement to all!
__________________
Husband dx July 2003, advanced rectal cancer stage 111C; myself dx July 2006 indolent lymphoma; husband dx February 2010, stage 2 prostate cancer.

 
Old 01-24-2007, 01:29 PM   #10
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Re: Colonoscopy Question Please?

I'm not sure what your concern/point is. Should we have ALL of the fact before submitting to a medical procedure or should we close our eyes and obey our doctor? Not all medical advice is correct, or the best course for everyone, hence the second opinion. Some people don't want all the facts as the facts can make us anxious and psych ourselves out of seeking medical care. Personally I insist on having 100% of the information on a medical procedure before I will even consider it. If not for the internet I would have little or no info on colonoscopy, and all the info I have would be one-sided in favor of.

Currently there is little or no pressure on the medical profession to replace colonoscopy for screening. The pressure needs to be brought to bear so this invasive, risky, unpleasant, expensive test can be replaced with something a lot more tolerable for screening and colonoscopy can be reserved for those that require diagnosis/therapy. To say that everyone should have a $1500 test every 3-5 years to screen for 1 type of cancer is (in my mind) ridiculous.
We should also buy a new car every 3 years too.

I've read literally hundreds of articles on CRC, screening, alternative tests, etc over the past year. The statistics vary somewhat but from the material I've read, roughly 50% of the people that "should" have a colonoscopy are opting out, so I guess I'm not really in the minority. This is the sort of thing that people don't/won't talk about. I'm guessing that most people that opt out of a colonoscopy keep this private. I'm unique in that I welcome discussion as long as it is balanced, not one-sided. I've seen no such discussion anywhere on the net, or elsewhere.

In my mind colonoscopy is not acceptable because of the following:

risk of perforation which can lead to multiple surgeries, permanent colostomy, or death.

risk of electrolyte imbalance from laxatives which can result in death

Pain during and after the procedure. This can cause people to refuse any subsequent screening tests, even new tests that may be more tolerable and less invasive.

Trauma to the organs during the procedure.

Excessive bleeding

Risk of infection.

Adverse reactions to sedation or anesthesia, possibly resulting in death

Loss of privacy, dignity, and long-term anxiety which can lead to other health problems.

I'm specifically talking about people that have no symptoms and are advised to get "screened", not someone with pain or bleeding that need diagnosis.
In my opinion, a healthy non-symptomatic patient should not subject themselves to all this risk. This is an ELECTIVE procedure. I ELECT not to get one for all the reasons I listed. If someone can convince me otherwise, perhaps I will have a change of heart.

 
Old 01-24-2007, 03:59 PM   #11
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Re: Colonoscopy Question Please?

I would just like to add some things here. I am a 29 year old female. Young you would say. I have had 8 surgeries. Yes count them 8. Anything from D&C's for miscarriages to colon resection. Yes I said colon resection. A colonoscopy is a MINOR procedure compared to what could happen and in my case did happen. I had no symptoms. NONE! No rectal bleeding, no discomfort, I do have IBS, but have had that since I was like 4 so there was no difference to me. The reason my doctor did my test was due to I had stomach issues. I was like you, stomach issues = colonoscopy??? What the heck. I thought it was a joke. I have no history of colon polyps in my family or history of colon cancer. I had no reason under the blue sky to undergo this test, but I decided what the heck. Guess what...I had polyps and just not some polyps ALOT of polyps. And amongst those adenomas, were 2 very large adenomas that were so big they could not be taken care of during that minor procedure. I had to opt at 29 (right after my birthday) to under go a right hemicolectomy. My choices were that or every 6 months a colonoscopy or possibly die from cancer within 5 years when they did turn. And they most definetly would have turned although my doctor could not assure me they were not already cancer in the middle of them or the bottom. At 29, with 2 kids both under the age of 4 and one with autism, I cannot afford to leave this world. My responsiblities to my family outweigh any discomfort from a test or surgery. And as far as money, the 1500 dollar test, the colon resection was 200,000 dollars. And most likely by 35 I would have been affected with colon cancer or dying from it had by not some miracle this test been done, even though I had no symptoms.
Although I respect your decision to not have this test done, please do not assume it is ridiculous to have it if you do not show any symptoms or for that matter are not over 50. My brother in law, who was 39 at the time, had to under go emergency surgery for colon cancer to remove a tumor. He never had any symptoms, well not until it was too late. He now has it in his lymph nodes and all of this could have been prevented had he maybe had a colonoscopy at 35. With anything in life, there are risks. If you walk out your front door to check your mail you might be hit by a car. If you drive your car down the street you could have a heartattack and hit someone and your surviving spouse be sued for something you could not avoid (this did happen in Tennessee). So my response is, you might opt out of this test because of all the dangers, but everything in life contains danger. Personally, if I can test for something that is easily preventable, I am going to. Even if it means I have to have loose bowel movements for one day. If the colon cancer or diabetes or many other ailments that affect me or might affect me don't kill me, I surely doubt the colonoscopy is going to.

Let me also add, my husband works with a woman who's son at 17 died with colon cancer. He had no symptoms or family history either, well not until it was too late.

 
Old 01-24-2007, 05:36 PM   #12
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Re: Colonoscopy Question Please?

[QUOTE.... To say that everyone should have a $1500 test every 3-5 years to screen for 1 type of cancer is (in my mind) ridiculous.

Loss of privacy, dignity, and long-term anxiety which can lead to other health problems.

I'm specifically talking about people that have no symptoms and are advised to get "screened", not someone with pain or bleeding that need diagnosis.
In my opinion, a healthy non-symptomatic patient should not subject themselves to all this risk. This is an ELECTIVE procedure. I ELECT not to get one for all the reasons I listed. If someone can convince me otherwise, perhaps I will have a change of heart.[/QUOTE]


to respond....while i respect your opinion....i must disagree. colonoscopy tests are done once every 10 years ...IF yours came back fine and no history of it. however, IF your came back cancerous, they recommend one being done every year.

speaking of the test causing loss of dignity....i beg to differ...colon cancer causes a person to lose their dignity....their privacy, as well as suffer with depression. even though the tests are invasive and embarrassing, i would much rather go through that....than risk being told i have cancer that could have been prevented had i gone through these tests once every 10 years.

it takes 7-10 years for the polyps to turn into cancer....IF you have a colonoscopy done, and they find polyps...they can be removed right then...before cancer even thinks about growing. had my sister went in 10 years ago for a colonoscopy, they would have found the polyps, and therefore, she would not have gone through the horrible experience of having cancer, and having to wear a colostomy bag since last January. 1-2,3, 4, 6, 8 years ago...she had NO SIGNS that her body was developing cancer. things started happening to her which she didnt pay attention to...2 MONTHS BEFORE she found out. the ONLY things she suffered from was weight loss and fatigue...which she attributed to her new job that she had only been at for 3 months prior to her diagnosis.....and constipation..which she only had 2 severe bouts of prior to diagnosis. she had no other symptoms....these were the only symptoms she had..even when looking back after her diagnosis and learning about the symptoms...she had NONE, aside from those just mentioned. she was found to have had 3rd stage colon cancer. so...just because you have no symptoms...doesnt mean its not growing in your body. so yes, everyone should go through the tests.

personally, as much as cancer has become such a widespread "epidemic"...i think it should be a part of your yearly physical to be tested for cancer...bloodwork and whatever else detects cancer. alot more lives could be saved if it were made part of a routine physical.

in my earlier post, i didnt mean to scare the ones that are facing this dilema...i do apologize, i was not trying to be insensitive in any manner. however...it was meant for the ones that are questioning why they should have it done if they arent having symptoms and yet its being recommended by their dr. if a dr could/would test me for various cancers every year or every 5 years....i would be the very first in line! i've had too many friends/relatives sick with it, or die from it.

 
Old 01-24-2007, 06:31 PM   #13
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Re: Colonoscopy Question Please?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladybug8372 View Post
[QUOTE....

in my earlier post, i didnt mean to scare the ones that are facing this dilema...i do apologize, i was not trying to be insensitive in any manner. however...it was meant for the ones that are questioning why they should have it done if they arent having symptoms and yet its being recommended by their dr. if a dr could/would test me for various cancers every year or every 5 years....i would be the very first in line! i've had too many friends/relatives sick with it, or die from it.
I know you had the best of intentions and I am sorry I reacted! I am just scared that I might end up with a colostomy...or my husband who was dx rectal cancer three years ago. He was told before surgery he would definitely have to have a colostomy and it was wonderful to wake up and find he did not! I realize you were just encouraging people to get a colonoscopy but I was worried for others like me who might possibly be faced with the situation. We do hear from people on this board on how it can be managed and I would rather focus on that.

Love and prayers,
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Old 01-25-2007, 06:50 AM   #14
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Re: Colonoscopy Question Please?

Very few doctors will recommend you go 10 years between. If no polyp is found, 5 years is the norm. If polyp is found 1-3 years depending on the
pathology of the polyp. And $1500 is conservative. It costs more in many instances. My dad had one a few years back. Gastro said he was all set for 5 years. His PCP insists he has another in 3. I see no logic in this. From everything I've read polyps do not form in 3 years in a patient that has never had them in 80 years of living. Even if a polyp did form in 3 years, it most likely would not be cancerous. The only explanation I can think of is *Dad has great insurance*. Same doctor wants dad to have a repeat prostate biopsy even though a. gland is not enlarged b. low PSA, c. previous biopsy was negative. There's gold in them thar hills!

drive-south

 
Old 01-25-2007, 08:28 AM   #15
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Re: Colonoscopy Question Please?

If your doctor recommends a colonoscopy you should follow the advice of your doctor. Telling people to go against a doctor's orders is irresponsible. If you want, go for a second opinion, but don't just ignore a doctor's recommendation.

Colonoscopies do have RARE risks, but they are outweighed by benefits. My colonoscopy saved my life (diagnosed at 33 w/rectal cancer). They will undoubtedly continue to save my life as I have them yearly (aggressive cancers require close observation) - and will help my sons avoid this disease altogether - they will have a colonoscopy at 21. I can assure you that a few hours of discomfort from a colonoscopy is NOTHING compared to 4 surgeries and chemoradiation and 7 months of chemo - which in my case could have been avoided had I had a colonoscopy at the onset of my symptoms.

Recently there has been a lot in the news about how colonoscopies as screening has VERY SIGNIFICANTLY decreased the colorectal cancer rates. Colonoscopies as prevention for colorectal cancer IS WORKING!

Please don't scare people. Their doctor will surely explain the risks and benefits for THEIR situation. Many of us here are facing MANY colonoscopies, colostomies, and surgeries as early as this week. Let's offer kindness and support instead of doubt and fear.

Alison - I am thinking of you and worrying about you. You have had a rough road and you do not need any more on your plate. You will be OK. I have a good feeling about that!

Sincerely,

Cats

 
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