Colonoscopy - being taken for a ride?

njteaFebruary 9, 2006

My brother had his first colonoscopy 4 years ago - no findings - told to come back in 3 years. I thought the normal return was 10 years if the colonoscopy had no findings as polyps take that long or longer to become cancerous.

He went back in 3 years and by golly, they found a "cancerous" growth. Told to come back in 6 months for a re-do - by golly another polyp - which was apparently benign. (He won't ask for copies of biopsy reports.)

Did Dr. at first colonoscopy see something but not tell brother about it? I think that would be extremely unethical.

Anyway, he was told to come back in a year - which was last Monday. By gosh, another polyp was found.

But now he's being told to come back in 3 years again.

I get the feeling he is being used by this doctor, who prides himself on being able to do this procedure in less than 10 minutes. I was appalled when we went the first time as brother was the 24th patient scheduled for a procedure that day and they only do them between 9 and 3.

Brother has been "used" by a doctor in the past - a dermatologist who used to have him come in every 6 months and every 6 months he would allegedly find new growths on his face. We finally convinced him that he was being used.

Also, brother, who goes to doctors more than any other man I know - and more than most women- seems to be a perfect "target" for unscrupulous doctors. He never questions anything the doctor tells him - he just does it.

Is he being used or is this normal procedure?

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Would brother consider getting a second opinion from another doctor? Or could he ask his primary care physician or internist? Of course, if he is happy with all this, there isn't much you can do, is there?

I don't have any special knowledge about the procedure, but I believe people repeat in 10 years if no polyps are found, 5 years if a polyp is found.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2006 at 8:34PM
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Thank you - I was looking for confirmation of the 5-year/10-year follow-up.

It took us years to convince him that he was being used by the dermatologist. We'll just have to keep working to get him to consider that perhaps he is being used by this doctor also and to get him to ask for copies of records, biopsies, etc.

It just seemed really strange to me that on an allegedly clear finding he was told to come back in 3 years, but when this last polyp was found, he was again told 3 years rather than 6 months or one year he'd been told previously.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2006 at 9:31AM
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Well, there is a little info at the bottom of the linked page below. I'm in no position to say your brother is being "taken for a ride" and maybe the work being done is proper, but I know you are worried. Is the dr. or clinic affiliated with a major hospital? Could you check his credentials with your state medical board? Was he referred to this doctor/clinic by someone you respect?

As for the dermatologist, if your brother is prone to little skin pre-cancers, maybe he could develop basal cell or even a more serious cancer, so if he goes in every 6 months to be watched or have them taken off, that doesn't seem so bad. Especially if he spends time in the sun.

Most of his care is preventive, and that's important.

Here is a link that might be useful: colonoscopy

    Bookmark   February 10, 2006 at 7:46PM
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Re: the dermatologist - we got him to go to a new dermatologist after we asked him if the original guy ever checked any part of his body other than his face. He finally admitted that the guy had only looked at his face.

The new dermatologist has yet, in two years, to find any lesions on his face or any other part of this body.

As I said in my first post is that what bothers me about this gastro guy is his seeming inconsistency and why he asked brother to come back in 3 years after an exam with allegedly no findings. In 3 years he finds a "cancerous" polyp - I don't think so. If he'd seen something suspicious at the first exam, he should have removed it or have told brother about it and told him he wanted to check it in 3 years, which I know he didn't because I was there and he told me the exam was clean.

"It may take five years or more for a polyp to reach a 1/2 inch ( 1 cm ) in diameter. It generally takes a 1/2 inch polyp 5-10 years or more to turn into cancer."

From another source:

"Polyps grow slowly, taking 5 years or longer to reach 1 cm in diameter. If the Polyp is going to become malignant, it takes another 5 to 10 years for the cancer to develop. It takes another 5 to 10 years for the cancer to cause symptoms."

Sorry to harp on this, but I need to vent my frustration with both the doctor and my brother. I've noticed that with each procedure he has more and more difficulty recovering from the meds which is alarming to me. He called me Monday night slurring his words and then the next day denied that he'd called me the previous night. I've wondered if a contributory factor could be because he drinks the entire gallon of prep solution at one sitting rather than slowly over the course of several hours - then won't even take a sip of water until the procedure is over. I think he's probably getting terribly dehydrated which is having an adverse impact on him.

Brother also has OCPD which makes him very difficult to deal with, i.e., he won't question authority and a doctor is an "authority".

    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 7:09AM
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