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Colonoscopies Colonoscopies

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Unread 04-18-2003, 06:49 PM


Not a popular subject, I am sure. But a necessary one.
For all the CC posters who are around my age (51), don't ignore this area of your health. I know I tried to, but my gyn onc told me it was time. Everyone should do one for screening when they turn 50. But especially those of us with ovarian cancer. Remember the link between breast, colon, and ovarian.
I did mine a week ago, and it was the easiest test I've ever done.
Of course that excludes the bowel prep the day before.
So along with yearly mammograms, remember that colonoscopy when it is time.

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Unread 04-18-2003, 07:15 PM

Karenann, that was to be my next stop. I have/had a consultation scheduled for April 30th, but in light of these latest developments -- a pelvic mass and micro calcifications -- I may have to wait a while on that one. It is extremely helpful to me though to hear you say it wasn't so bad!! I know about that "prep" stuff though....
Unread 04-19-2003, 03:46 AM
Endometrial-Colon Cancer Connection


Thanks for the important reminder about colonoscopies. There is also a connection between endometrial and colon cancer, so it's important for women with a history of the former to be screened for the latter. I just had my second one on March 31. I had my first three years earlier which was several months after completing radiation for endometrial cancer. Actually, I decided I wanted the colonoscopy on my own after reading about the connection. When I mentioned it to my gyn-onc, he suggested I wait three months to give my colon time to heal from the effects of the radiation.

What a difference between the preparation for the first and second tests! The recent prep was a real breeze, as it involved taking only pills called Visicol. For the first prep I had to drink the two liters of horrid tasting liquid (called go-litely or something similar). The pills worked great and made this test one of the easiest I've ever had. If the gastroenterologist doing the test does not mention the pills, ask about them.

My secretary had mentioned a while back that her doctor recommended this test. I did everything but take her by the arm to the doctor, but she would not agree to get the procedure. She has a strong history of various cancers in her family and, I think, is being extremely foolish and/or in serious denial. It's such an effective test in detecting pre-cancerous polyps that I can't for the life of me figure out why more people don't get the test. I also have a friend who was diagnosed with stage three colo-rectal cancer a few weeks after I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer, so this is one of my areas of special concern.

Get those colonoscopies ladies!!

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Unread 04-19-2003, 04:00 AM

P.S. to my post:

My friend with the stage three colo-rectal cancer was diagnosed less than two months after her 50th birthday. She wishes the age guidelines were lowered, as she might have been able to avoid an eight hour operation, radiation and six months of chemo if she had been told to go for a colonoscopy several years earlier.
Unread 04-19-2003, 05:15 AM

Karenann, thanks for this advice. I live in the U.K. where preventative medicine is in its infancy. The culture is more "stiff upper lip until you have explicit symptoms and then we'll have a look". The only routine checks for women are pap smears and mammograms (the latter after age fifty only). This is on the NHS. My husband and I are seriously thinking of paying for our own annual health screen. Does anyone know of any website that would give guidelines as to which tests and procedures to look for in a good annual health screen?

To get anything like a colonoscopy, ultrasound scan, etc. here on the NHS you have to be able to prove that there is something wrong with you first, in terms of symptoms you can point to. For example, if I hadn't had the episode of abnormal bleeding in January and February, which might be entirely unconnected to the ovarian mass, I would never have had the ultrasound scan which revealed it. Since it has probably been there for some considerable time, maybe with an annual health screen it could have been spotted before it reached the size of a grapefruit!

I've sort of decided I want to live and I don't think waiting until cancer symptoms are gross is the best way to go about this. Any help with information on health screening would therefore be much appreciated.
Unread 04-19-2003, 09:12 AM

would cancer in the colon show up on a PET scan! I have a colostomy and the thought of having a colonoscopy scares me. i
Unread 04-19-2003, 12:40 PM

Karenann how right you are!!

A year ago, right before my hysteresctomy, I had to have a colonscopy for surgery clearance and to make sure that everything was ok.

Boy was I scared. Not only embarassed to take the test but also afraid that the possibility of cancer had spread somewhere else.

Well, the prepping the night before was a barrel of fun!! LOL LOL

However, the actual test was a piece of cake and thankfully, for me, all was clear and good.

I am constantly trying to get my friends to have one done and am on my husbands case also.

You are right Karen, it is not fun but it definately does save lives...

Colonoscopy anyone???

Unread 04-19-2003, 02:17 PM

Good timing, Karen,
I have a colonoscopy scheduled for Friday, 4/25. Of course, just scheduling it brings out the old cancerhead, but it can't be helped. This site educated me about the "consistent coincidence" between breast, ovarian, uterine and colon cancers. My gyn/onc even talked about it. So........ drink the stuff and do the deed for me.

A friend of mine who has Crohns goes every three years for a colonoscopy. She calls it an assoscopy!! (can I say that here?)

Love you guys,
Unread 04-19-2003, 05:04 PM

Karenann... I am glad to hear that your colonoscopy wasn't that bad. I am 36 and have to have one done onApril 28th. They are going to knock me out.... thank god.... You just eased my mind a little more! Thanks, Maryann
Unread 04-19-2003, 09:11 PM

Right on, Karenann!! Thanks for posting this very important reminder. A colleague of mine recently had a bowel resection for early-stage colon cancer, found with a colonoscopy. She is only 43 and her prognosis looks excellent, thanks to early detection. She had some other symptoms that she might've ignored but mercifully decided to have the scope just in case.

Debbie: PET scans are being used to some extent for colon screening, but unfortunately the results aren't as reliable. Also, if the doc is performing a colonoscopy, he/she can often remove precancerous polyps during the scope. I can completely understand why you'd be concerned about having a colonoscopy in your situation! Maybe if you talked to a GI doctor (if you haven't already!), he/she could discuss how the procedure would go.

A diagnostic test that looks at patterns of proteins that are excreted in the stool is being developed, but unfortunately it looks like it'll be some years before it hits the market. Fingers crossed that it happens soon!


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