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colonoscopy frequency

Posts: 719
Joined: Feb 2005

Hey, I am two years NED and my onc is batting the ball into my gastro's court for frequency of my colonoscopy. I know my gastro will jump into the statistics thing and have me look at a two to three year interval. I am not very secure with that.
Thoughts? Of course my doc said if I did have a genetic marker he would go for more frequency, but I am feeling that during the first five years that the docs should be super vigilant...
Thanks, Maura

KierstenRx's picture
Posts: 249
Joined: Nov 2006

I total agree your doctors should stay on top of things. My gastro said we would be doing twice a year colonoscopy for at least the first 3 years, then yearly after that.

shmurciakova's picture
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

I had one done a year after I was diagnosed and there were no polyps, so then I waited 3 years, that was last summer, no large polyps were seen, but I didn't get "clean enough", so I am repeating
the scope at the end of this month. If no polyps are seen I will wait another 3 years, if any are seen, then I'll have another one in a year.
It probably depends on a number of variables, for example, how many polyps you had when you were diagnosed, etc...
I hope that helps, normally it takes from 5-10 years for a polyp to become cancerous, so I think that is where the 3 year intervals come from, unless you have some problem like FAP.

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Posts: 190
Joined: Oct 2005

Hi Maura, I have only just gone onto 3 yearly colonoscopy's after 14 years and my cancer was not the polyp type. Maybe here in NZ with so called free medical care things are different. I would certainly push for yearly at least for the first 5 years if I was you.


scouty's picture
Posts: 1976
Joined: Apr 2004

Hi Maura,

You know my history and last month my oncologist and I had some very serious talks about all sorts of things with one being about colonoscopy frequency. I trust his 30 years of experience and world reknown status. He told me that if I was at the 2 year surgical remission stage, he would recommend them for every 2 years but since I am at the 2 year NON surgical remission stage, he recommends yearly test and will for several more years.

That being said, when he wanted me to go from quarterly to semi-annual testing late last year, I freaked and we compromised. I bet you can do the same, your sanity is worth it.

Any news from your appt yesterday? I've been thinking about you!!!

Lisa P.

Posts: 719
Joined: Feb 2005

Hey Lisa, I'll shoot you an email.
Thanks for your thoughts - Maura

Betsydoglover's picture
Posts: 1256
Joined: Jul 2005

I think it really depends a lot on your Stage and individual situation.

I am Stage IV - had a second colonoscopy 5 months after my colon resection. It was clean. At that time, my GI doc said we could go 2 years before another one. My oncologist was not in favor of that - wanted me to wait only 1 year (said the GI doc probably said 2 years cuz he assumed I'd be dead before then!).

So 1 year later I had another scope - it also was clean. My GI doc said that unless my oncologist really pitched a fit, 3 years should be fine. I told her (oncologist) his recommendation was 3 years, expecting her to say it should be two. But, she is fine with 3 years. In her opinion we now know that the "natural history" of my disease does not involve frequent polyp formation, and that, combined with the fact that the colon tumor was resected, makes her feel comfortable with waiting 3 years for another scope (with a fecal occult blood test every year).

I am personally comfortable with this - at this point, much more worried about a met showing up somewhere than about another primary colon tumor.


chynabear's picture
Posts: 483
Joined: Jul 2005

Due to my husbands employment, I have now been to 3 different gastro's for my scopes and all were specialists in colon cancer.

DX Stage III 2004 after 1st colonoscopy in Texas. Opinion was to have annual scope for the first 2-3 years post cancer.

2005 first scope after cancer dx in South Dakota. Opinion was that if my 2nd scope came out clean, would span time to 3 years and then 5.

2006 third scope post cancer dx in Colorado. Opinion was to span scope out to 3 years and then 5.

Oncologist said that we could do 3 years or 2 if I wasn't comfortable or play it by ear.

Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

After my last clean scope, my doc said normally it wd be 3 years till the next one. BUT since CEA was never reliable for me, she recommended annually. I think there is some 'wiggle room'.

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

My onc wants yearly for a little longer. I am 1 year NED, and my gastro wants to make sure...unfortunately, I, too, never had a high CEA...

Hugs, Kathi

jsabol's picture
Posts: 1156
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi Maura,
Just had this discussion with my GI doc; I am now 3+ years out of surgery, and just had my 3rd annual colonscopy (and all clear) since my original diagnosis. We were talking about a 2 year interval this time.
My cancerous polyp was 7 mm and had already involved 1 node. That level of aggressiveness is a bit scary, so my onc and I will have this discussion at my next 3 month follow up. GI doc said he is willing to do whatever we decide would be best for my physical and mental health...gotta love the guy! and now that I have found the Miralax prep, I can actually imagine doing another one! I did not have an elevated CEA prior to surgery, so it was not a reliable marker for me. Judy

Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 2007

just curious, what is a miralax prep?

Posts: 719
Joined: Feb 2005

Thanks you everyone for your kind thoughts and replies. Interesting mix of ideas...I'll see where this takes me.
All the best - Maura

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