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Cancer: Cervical & Ovarian Message Board

Why so long for biopsy results?

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Old 06-22-2009, 05:36 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2009
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mander2682 HB User
Why so long for biopsy results?

Hi all,

A little background: I had my first abnormal pap smear last Feb. It came back low grade dysplasia, possible high grade.

I went in 3 months later for a followup pap, which came back as high grade, so a week later I was in for a colopscopy. When I asked my doctor how everything looked, she said she didn't see any "big bad spot" but she did go ahead with the biopsy.

She told me the results would be in in about a week and to feel free to call if I didn't hear from them by then. After not hearing from them for a week and a half, I called the office. The nurse said that it came up as still in processing, and that she would call me as soon as the results came in...

Well, another week passed w/ no call. I called today, and this Dr. and her crew are out of the office for the next 3 days! So I asked to talk to my family Dr.'s nurse to have them give me the result. The family doctor's nurse said it was still coming up as in processing, and agreed with me that it was way too long to be waiting. She said she'd find out what was going on and get back to me either way. This was this morning. I didn't hear anything back all day and now it's after hours. So yeah it's been about 3 weeks of hearing nothing.

Has anyone had an experience like this? Does this mean that it's something bad that it's taking so long? This is so frustrating! I was patient for the first couple weeks, and now I've just been worrying and crying. I just want to know what is happening. I'm very stressed out! Sorry this is so long, but does anyone have any thoughts on this?

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Old 06-22-2009, 06:05 PM   #2
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LilyL21 HB UserLilyL21 HB UserLilyL21 HB User
Re: Why so long for biopsy results?

It took me almost a month to get my biopsy results after my colposcopy! I called after about 2 1/2 weeks, and the doctor told me that she wanted to double check my results so she sent them back to pathology again. One of the biopsies came back CIN 1 and one came back CIN 2, so she wanted to make doubly sure it was really CIN 2 before recommending a LEEP. So in my case, the long wait time was not indicative of anything bad at all, just that my doctor was being cautious.

I also had it take like 6 weeks to get the results of my HIV and Hep C tests! I honestly had forgotten completely about them because I wasn't too worried about the results. My doctor had said they would mail the results, but it wasn't until I was on the phone talking with her about my biopsies that I remembered I had never gotten them. When she checked, they STILL were not in my file. The lab had completely neglected to send them to the doctor, so that's why I never got a letter. My doctor's office then called the lab and got the results, which were all fine.

If no one in your doctor's office know what's going on with the result, I suggest you ask them to call the lab and ask where your results are. While this delay definitely does NOT indicate anything bad, someone must know what's going on!

Old 06-26-2009, 09:25 PM   #3
Pickle Eyes
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Re: Why so long for biopsy results?

Hi Mander! I would say a week is long enough to get pap results back. In my experience, if my test results were not good, they doctor's office got back to me more rapidly. My first thought was that it sounds like either the doctor's office lost the results, or the pathology lab lost your sample. Either way, I would think you'd need to get another pap done.

Old 07-03-2009, 01:13 PM   #4
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tgrobar75 HB User
Re: Why so long for biopsy results?

Colposcopy or pathology results are usually returned within a week. Cytology or pap results can sometimes take 3-4 weeks (even for normal results). At least that is the experience that I have had with ACL, Quest, and LabCorp.

Old 07-14-2009, 06:06 PM   #5
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Craftchick HB User
Re: Why so long for biopsy results?


I totally understand the frustrations of lab results. This last time, I actually was nervous about not getting a call from my doctor about my pap results. I had a cone biopsy in October and my first post pap came back abnormal. Since I got my EOB (Explanation of Benefits) from my insurance company for both my doctor and the lab, I knew my labs had been processed. So, I called the lab for my own results. Everyone has the right to get their own labs given to them. Most labs don't want to you to know of this right. Request a HIPPA form from the lab. If it seems like your doctor uses the same lab, keep a blank copy for the next time.

Another thing on your EOB tells you the day the lab work was done and received. The date of the lab work is with all the coding and pay stuff. The other date usually on the top will tell you when your stuff was received/processed. It could give you an idea about how long the turn around most likely would be.

Another thing to consider is that in our current health system, our labs are really no longer done "on site" or even in the city you live in. Of course, there are some exceptions. All of our stuff is bid out to groups like LabCorp, Quest, etc. One of the reasons the costs are so low is that they gather all the specimens and ship them to a particular location for mass processing. An example from my situation is that my ob/gyn uses Quest. I later found out Quest was sending all specimens to be processed in Metarie, LA which is near New Orleans. Supposedly everything is secure and not spoiled. But, knowing that I chose to pick another lab that was still within my insurance network. We even have the right to personally take our specimens to the lab of our choice!

BTW, CAP (College of American Pathologists) requires that all labs be processed and report completed within 24 hours. So if you go into the hospital for any kind of surgical procedure or lab work (like the stuff you do before surgery), the reports have to be available in 24 hours. There is another type of report that is literally done within minutes which is called "frozen section". This is only done in very rare cases. The most often reasons are if cancerous tissues need to be removed and the surgeon needs to know while you are on the table if all the cancer was removed.

Keep in mind things do get lost.

Hope that helps.
craft chick

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