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Please Help Me

WesP
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2007

I am a 41 year old married father of 2 (with 1 on the way). I just went in for a colonoscopy this morning due to some bowel symtoms that I have been having.

After the procedure I got the shock of my life - the Doctor said that I had multiple (at least 40) polyps. He said he removed one of the larger ones (thumb nail size) for biopsy, however, no more were removed (due to the number I believe).

He stated that he did not believe that any were canerous, however, how could he know this without biopsy? Can a doctor tell via look and feel of them?

Finally, he said he highly recommended that I get a full or partial Colectomy due to the number of the polyps - as he said I would be sure to develop Colon cancer within 5 years if I did not. Why can they not just do a more lengthy expansive procedure to remove all the ployps and test them all...versus moving right to remove my Colon?

If a Polyp tests positive for cancer, does that mean you have it, or is that Polyp just cancerous?

Fianally, does anyone have any experience with this number of polyps....the nurses and doctors said that that number was highly unusual? Also, woould it make me far more likely to ultimately develop Colon Cancer.

In addition, how can he be sure the rest are not cancerous without biopsy of them (the 40+ he did not take out)?

Thank you so much...your help is really appreciated.

Wes

changing
Posts: 135
Joined: Oct 2006

Don't know all the answers but will share what I do know. First of all yes, a polp can become cancerous over time that's why they should come out. And yes, sometimes the surgeon can have a pretty good idea just by looking at the polp as to whether it's cancerous or not BUT and I do mean BUT ...the biopsy is the final determination. So it appears your MD sent out 1 to get a start on knowing what to expect. Next, I doubt any MD would take out all 40 with a colonoscopy due to risk of bleeding etc...for that you'll need to be an inpatient at the hospital with a surgeon. After they remove the rest of them...then they'll probably biopsy the whole area that is removed.... you'll be given a final report. Please don't panic! Many of us here, myself included have had 18 inches or so of the colon removed and there's no problem with the bowel itself after that. You'll probably hear from others here ....you've come to the right place ...even though it appears this may be a beneign (non-cancerous) situation..it's good to talk with those of us who have had the surgery. Hope this helps a little. Hope this has been a bit helpful. We all know how stressful this time is and I'll be praying. Be sure to keep us posted as you move along! Take care,

NWmom
Posts: 80
Joined: Nov 2006

Hi Wes,
Sorry you had to come to this board, but there is a wealth of information to be had from the people here. First thing is try not to panic. It sounds to me like the doc thinks you may have FAP (Familial Adenomatous Polyposis) which is a genetic condition that causes large numbers of polyps in the colon and also puts the affected person at a significant risk for developing colon cancer. They won't know if you have this condition for sure without doing genetic testing. If you have this condition, it is my understanding that removing the colon if very common due to the likelihood of developing cancer from it. For your question, if a polyp is cancerous, yes, that does mean that you have cancer. We personally don't have an experience with that many polyps, but I know there are others on this site who do and I'm sure they will speak up. We suggest to do a lot of research, ask as many questions as you can of your doctors and try and keep a positive attitude. Our prayers are with you.
Carl and Heather

houseofclay
Posts: 63
Joined: Nov 2004

The high number of polyps found in your colon might suggest a genetic condition (FAP) that causes many polyps to develop. I would strongly suggest you discuss that with your surgeon as it will help you decide whether a complete colectomy is a viable option. Removing 40 polyps would not be an easy or advisable solution, so your doctor did the right thing by taking one (and it might have been one of the largest polyps) to biopsy. Many times the doctor can look at the size of the polyp as well as the appearance and have a good idea as to whether the polyp is cancerous but it always needs to be biopsied.

If you want more information on the possible genetic issue, please feel free to email me off list at aclay@ccalliance.org.

Take care,

Andrea

Faith4Cure
Posts: 405
Joined: Mar 2007

Sorry to hear what you are going through. I agree with "Changing" in the last reply. I think in a fairly advanced stage of cancer the doctor has a pretty good idea that it is cancerous. It sounds like your polyps have not advanced to this stage and are most likely not cancerous.

Be very thankful that you had the colonoscopy done when you did. You have a chance to get rid of those pesky polyps before they spread and become a much bigger problem.

I know the doctors recommendation of a colectomy was probably a big shock to you and most likely very scary. My husband had 12 inches of his colon removed and is doing fine. It is really not so bad and could save you from other problems down the road that would be much more bothersome.

You've come to the right place. Everyone here is so helpful and encouraging. With a positive attitude and careful research on your situation, you will do just fine! My thoughts and prayers are with you!

Faith

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2599
Joined: Apr 2003

Wes...

First, it will be OK. i understand the shock and awe of hearing you have stuff growing inside of you!

The good news is that if your doc says the polyps are probably not cancerous, then they probably aren't. Docs can usually tell the bad ones from the not-so-bad-ones.

Heather and Carl bring up a good point about FAP. That was my gut reaction when I read how many polyps you had. Honestly, it's not such a unique thing.

I have a very good friend who has FAP. He's an officer in the Coast Guard. He had a hemicolectemy - part of his colon removed - because he has FAP. That was four years ago. He just had a colonoscopy on Monday and he was clear - no polyps. He is still on active duty and doing just fine. He is "well" enough, in fact, that he has been assigned in a ship for the past two years.

I am a colon cancer survivor. I have had 2/3s of my colon removed for multiple tumors that were cancer. I am also still an active duty Coast Guard officer - I did two yeras at sea after I finished chemo and I am heading back to an afloat assignment next month.

Sounds like you may have discovered a syndrome (maybe FAP? - genetic testing could verify that) early - which is good. Removing part of your colon would reduce the area where these polyps can grow, and robust surveillance (read that to mean annual colonoscopies) can identify and remove polyps as they emerge.

Hope this is helpful. Congrats on the little one on the way!

- SpongeBob

Monicaemilia's picture
Monicaemilia
Posts: 455
Joined: Nov 2006

Hi Wes: I was diagnosed in Dec. 05 with FAP (they found over 100 polyps in my colon and had a full colectomy). I am now at Stage IV because by the time it was discovered it had spread to my liver, and now maybe my lungs. You are very lucky that they have found it before it could do any damage.

1. I agree with the others that you should do your homework (there is tons of information on the net about FAP) and speak to your surgeon.
2. If it is FAP, then there is a 50/50 chance your kids might get it, so genetic testing is a good idea. I have just done that and am waiting for the results.
3. I asked my son's paediatrician what would happen if my son got it, and he told me a full colectomy was the only way to ensure he would not get cancer.

If I can answer any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact me through this site. God bless. Monica

oneagleswings
Posts: 425
Joined: Jan 2005

Oh my- that must have been a shock..what were your bowel symptoms?? Yes, I believe the Dr can tell a great deal just by looking at the "polyp"..my husband's gastro said right away that it was carcinoma..best of luck with your test results and try not to worry.
Bev

shmurciakova's picture
shmurciakova
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

Hi Wes,
It is possible that you can have these polyps removed via a colonoscopy. However, if any of them turn out to be cancerous you will be advised to have at least a partial colectomy. I would seek a second opinion. Have you even spoken to a surgeon yet? If I were you I would go to a major cancer center such as MD Anderson, or whichever one is near you. My mother had 20 (more or less) polyps one year and 2 years later 20 more. She was told by one surgeon to have her entire colon removed. She just went to MD Anderson and they were able to remove 2 polyps that the other doctor said he could not remove during a colonoscopy. She did not end up having to have surgery at all. She will however, have to get another colonoscopy in 6-12 months. In my opinion that is much better than surgery.
If your polyp comes back negative I certainly would seek the opinion of another if not more, surgeons to see if you can take care of this without surgery Of course, if any of the other polyps come back positive, then you will have no choice.
Best of luck to you,
Susan.

If you look back through the old posts, sometime in the end of March, I posted my mothers story under the title "The value of a second opinion" or something like that....

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