Trying to convince PCP to allow colonoscopy - update

AceSFO
AceSFO Member Posts: 229
edited March 2014 in Colorectal Cancer #1
I've got an appointment to meet with my PCP next week to try to convince him to allow a colonoscopy for me at age 45. I told his nurse that my mother has a history of pre-cancerous polyps, that there's occasional blood, and lots of cancer in my family, and even with that they said I'm way too young, but they're willing to talk to me.

I'm noticing how many people on this board were dx'd long before they turned 50, and when John was dx'd at age 49 they told him his tumor had been growing for several years and that if he had gotten scoped at age 43 they could have done more for him.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Adrian
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Comments

  • tnstudent
    tnstudent Member Posts: 45
    Adrian,
    Not sure what to

    Adrian,

    Not sure what to tell you other than stress to your doc that you have pre-existing factors that you are worried about. James was diagnosed at 47 and had no pre-existing conditions. If your doc thinks it is not important show his this board and thus your concerns. I wish you all the best. I am encouraging everyone that can to get tested.

    Good luck,

    Amy
  • iluvmms
    iluvmms Member Posts: 134
    do not take no for an answer
    I was dx 3 months ago at age 38 and they said it had been there for several years probably. I am trying to get anyone with any symptoms to go and get a colonoscopy. It is rediculos that insurance companys come up with a age and say your not at risk until 55. Please push the issue with your PCP. I skipped that step and went straight to a gastro, but my insurance is probably different.

    Christy
  • lisa42
    lisa42 Member Posts: 3,625
    doctors need to be updated
    Hi Adrian,

    At age 45 with a family history of precancerous polyps, you definitely should qualify right away to get a colonoscopy. It's frustrating to hear the recommendations are still to "have your colonoscopy by age 50". It's actually age 40 if you have family history of this- make sure you state that to your doctor's office. I was diagnosed stage IV at age 40 & was told it was probably in me for up to 7-8 years & I have no family history whatsoever of any kind of cancer. My oncologist, colorectal surgeon, and primary care doctor have all stated to me that there's been a definite increase in the past 5 years with people under age 50 being diagnosed with colorectal cancer- especially rectal cancer. It's generally lumped together with colon cancer, but having adenocarcinoma in the rectum vs. colon is especially being found more often in younger people lately. My primary care doctor now routinely tests patients starting at age 40 with the fecal blood occult test and the bloodtest also (sorry- forgot the name of the bloodtest). She said she just started routinely adding that to the bloodwork panel requested when patients get their annual physicals (starting at age 40). She did this because of the increased incidence of younger patients being diagnosed.

    Hope you get that colonoscopy and best wishes to you- you've got more than enough to worry and think about with your partner having this. Hopefully you'll be found to be just fine, but as you know, if there is something there it's always better to find it as early as possible.

    Take care-
    Lisa
  • coloCan
    coloCan Member Posts: 1,944 Member
    Get a colonoscopy
    Adrian;
    Remember:Cancer does not know how old you are nor does it care!!!! It doesn't discriminate.Based upon your reasons, INSIST upon a colonoscope. The life you save will be your own.....Steve (don't be like me--I waited waaaaaaaay toooooo long and now am suffering the consequences. )
  • angelsbaby
    angelsbaby Member Posts: 1,165
    coloCan said:

    Get a colonoscopy
    Adrian;
    Remember:Cancer does not know how old you are nor does it care!!!! It doesn't discriminate.Based upon your reasons, INSIST upon a colonoscope. The life you save will be your own.....Steve (don't be like me--I waited waaaaaaaay toooooo long and now am suffering the consequences. )

    Just for info
    My dr office would do it with out insurance for 2200.00 .
  • CanadaSue
    CanadaSue Member Posts: 339
    Push for the test
    Adrian,

    Push your doctor for the test! If there is any family history they should do the test, especially with much younger people being dx'd every day.

    My husband was dx'd at 47 and they said he more than likely had the cancer for 8 - 10 years. They will start testing our daughter next year when she turns 30.


    Be persistent!


    HUGS,

    Sue
  • PGLGreg
    PGLGreg Member Posts: 731
    There might be some
    There might be some difference whether your pcp is going to allow it, or recommend it, or prescribe it. He might not be willing to recommend it, but if you've decided you definitely want one, I doubt he'd stand in the way. He might not be able to prescribe it as medically necessary, and that might prevent your insurance paying for it.

    It might be better to find a gastroenterologist to do your colonoscopy -- they are supposed to be better at finding tumors.

    I suppose you've realized that the frequency of young cancer victims who post here is at least in part due to the fact that young people who didn't have screening colonoscopies and didn't get cancer have no reason to post.

    --Greg
  • Kathryn_in_MN
    Kathryn_in_MN Member Posts: 1,252
    I'm going to take a hard
    I'm going to take a hard stance here.

    Time for a new primary doctor if he won't listen to you on this and learn. Period. He isn't up to date on this issue. You can give him my story - my "IBS" dx because I was younger than 50, vegetarian, non-smoker, not overweight. My pain, blood in my stool, thinning of my stool, and other complaints were written off. I was not aware (nor was my family) that if a first-degree relative has adenomatous polpys that screening should start at age 40, or 10 years younger, whichever is less. If I had known this, I wouldn't be sitting where I am now. If my doctor had known this, I wouldn't be sitting where I am now. My mother has had that type of polyp at every screening starting at age 50. She is 69 now. She has never had colon cancer, but gets polyps removed every time. My siblings and I should have started screening at age 40.

    Please print out the guidelines below and hand them to him. Give him my story. Give him the story of others here that are oh so similar. And remind him that no one in their right mind would ASK for a colonoscopy unless they had real reason to fear something was wrong. He should listen to you. Then if he still won't listen - time for a new doctor.

    Patients with greater than average risk
    “Moderate Risk”
    •First degree relatives with colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps –Start screening at age 40 or 10-15 yrs younger than affected relative
    •Patients with personal history of breast, endometrial, or ovarian cancer
    •Long-standing IBD/colitis( > 8 yrs)

    Colorectal cancer is a significant source of morbidity, mortality, and societal cost and is largely preventable!
    •Screening and surveillance prevents cancer
    •Screening should begin age 40-50 + continue for life –Earlier for patients at higher risk •
    Options exist, tailor recommendations to patient
    •Not screening is not an option
  • AceSFO
    AceSFO Member Posts: 229

    I'm going to take a hard
    I'm going to take a hard stance here.

    Time for a new primary doctor if he won't listen to you on this and learn. Period. He isn't up to date on this issue. You can give him my story - my "IBS" dx because I was younger than 50, vegetarian, non-smoker, not overweight. My pain, blood in my stool, thinning of my stool, and other complaints were written off. I was not aware (nor was my family) that if a first-degree relative has adenomatous polpys that screening should start at age 40, or 10 years younger, whichever is less. If I had known this, I wouldn't be sitting where I am now. If my doctor had known this, I wouldn't be sitting where I am now. My mother has had that type of polyp at every screening starting at age 50. She is 69 now. She has never had colon cancer, but gets polyps removed every time. My siblings and I should have started screening at age 40.

    Please print out the guidelines below and hand them to him. Give him my story. Give him the story of others here that are oh so similar. And remind him that no one in their right mind would ASK for a colonoscopy unless they had real reason to fear something was wrong. He should listen to you. Then if he still won't listen - time for a new doctor.

    Patients with greater than average risk
    “Moderate Risk”
    •First degree relatives with colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps –Start screening at age 40 or 10-15 yrs younger than affected relative
    •Patients with personal history of breast, endometrial, or ovarian cancer
    •Long-standing IBD/colitis( > 8 yrs)

    Colorectal cancer is a significant source of morbidity, mortality, and societal cost and is largely preventable!
    •Screening and surveillance prevents cancer
    •Screening should begin age 40-50 + continue for life –Earlier for patients at higher risk •
    Options exist, tailor recommendations to patient
    •Not screening is not an option

    Thanks - all of you
    Great info! Thank you all very much! I did not know about the screening at age 40 for first degree relatives. Apparently he doesn't know about that either, but that's about to change. I also plan to remind him that John had gone to see him a full year before his initial dx and the doc wrote it off as IBS at that time because John had no family history.

    I did find some stats on the internet that if you have a first degree relative with polyps, you have a 60% greater chance of developing the same at an earlier age. I plan to tell him about that too. I like him and think he's a good doctor, I just think he might be between a rock and a hard place with the insurance companies.

    And not to get too far off topic, but speaking of insurance in America, check out this interesting bit of information that Congressman Weiner from New York came up with:

    http://weiner.house.gov/news_display.aspx?id=1364

    Thanks again - and I'll let you guys know how it goes.
    Adrian
  • PGLGreg
    PGLGreg Member Posts: 731
    AceSFO said:

    Thanks - all of you
    Great info! Thank you all very much! I did not know about the screening at age 40 for first degree relatives. Apparently he doesn't know about that either, but that's about to change. I also plan to remind him that John had gone to see him a full year before his initial dx and the doc wrote it off as IBS at that time because John had no family history.

    I did find some stats on the internet that if you have a first degree relative with polyps, you have a 60% greater chance of developing the same at an earlier age. I plan to tell him about that too. I like him and think he's a good doctor, I just think he might be between a rock and a hard place with the insurance companies.

    And not to get too far off topic, but speaking of insurance in America, check out this interesting bit of information that Congressman Weiner from New York came up with:

    http://weiner.house.gov/news_display.aspx?id=1364

    Thanks again - and I'll let you guys know how it goes.
    Adrian

    Congressman Weiner's bit is
    Congressman Weiner's bit is more in the nature of propaganda than honest information. I recommend looking, in addition, at the Wikipedia entry for the public option.
    --Greg
  • thready
    thready Member Posts: 474
    If this is an insurance issue
    Adrian,
    If your PCP does not want to allow the colonoscopy because of insurance reasons, remember that all insurance companies are required to have a person Omnsbudsman (sp) for you to complain too. You can also write a letter of protest and make sure you send it to your states insurance governing body. It gets really old having the insurance tell us we can not have tests we need just because they are protecting their bottom line. Just think how much money you would save the insurance company if they found a problem before it turned into a life threatening issue!

    If there is just an issue with the PCP being stuborn make sure you stress the 1st degree relative with precancer. If she had not had her colonoscopy she would have progressed to cancer. I think if you have a 1st degree relative who has had a polyp which is precancer you get a colonoscopy at age 40. I googled this and that is what I think I am reading.

    Best wishes and make sure you don't take no for an answer. As we read on this board about so many who have been told that they have hemorroids when they actually had tumors growing.

    We are in your corner!
    Jan
  • cbcardb12
    cbcardb12 Member Posts: 84
    I'm Surprise your dr said that...
    Hi Adrian,

    My husband (58 years old) was diagnosed in 3/09 with stage 4 rectal cancer with multiple mets in his liver. He has been responding very well to treatment, so we are very thankful for that. He was been asking me for several months to get a colonoscopy because I will turn 50 on 11/3. Well, I had my consultation today for my colonoscopy & endoscopy (GERD patient). As I was talking to the dr & discussing my husband, he told me that their biggest fear is not catching colon cancer in time, and that part of what they have changed is that they now recommend having the first colonoscopy at 45, and to have them every 3 years after that. We are in Georgia & are one of the few states that advises folks to have colonoscopies. Also, when I set up my office visit, I asked if I would be responsible for paying an up front amount before having the test. I had heard people say that they have had to pay up to $500. I was told that they consider the first colonoscopy as important as a mammogram, kind of like preventative maintenance, that I would not be charged anything! I would stay on your dr & insurance company. Also, we were told that our son would have to start having colonoscopies 10 younger than my husband was when he was diagnosed (so 48), but he should probably start in his late thirties. Given your family history, you may be able to get one now. Good luck.

    Carolyn
  • mommyof2kds
    mommyof2kds Member Posts: 519
    I would keep at them. I was
    I would keep at them. I was 35 at diagnosis..
  • NWGirl
    NWGirl Member Posts: 122
    Don't Waste Time if he/she won't listen
    You can try to educate your PCP, but I wouldn't waste too much time on it. If he/she won't listen - find a PCP who will. It was the Nurse Practitioner at my OB/GYN's office who I first met with - she saw that my father had colon cancer - and she made a HUGE deal about getting tested - 50 at the very latest; earlier if I had ANY symptoms. Well, I had symptoms - rectal bleeding that was getting worse. I was diagnosed at age 43 with a tumor "bigger than a golf ball, smaller than a grapefruit" and 27 of 38 nodes affected. I doubt that I'd have made it to 50 left untreated. My Nurse Practitioner took my symptoms very seriously as did the colo-rectal surgeon she referred me to for a colonoscopy. Thanks to their diligence, I'm still here.

    I've since been tested - my cancer doesn't appear to be hereditary; I just have bad luck. I'll say it again - if this doctor won't listen, find one that will and fast. 45 is not too young - cancer doesn't seem to be too respectful of minimum age requirements.
  • jen58
    jen58 Member Posts: 34
    AceSFO said:

    Thanks - all of you
    Great info! Thank you all very much! I did not know about the screening at age 40 for first degree relatives. Apparently he doesn't know about that either, but that's about to change. I also plan to remind him that John had gone to see him a full year before his initial dx and the doc wrote it off as IBS at that time because John had no family history.

    I did find some stats on the internet that if you have a first degree relative with polyps, you have a 60% greater chance of developing the same at an earlier age. I plan to tell him about that too. I like him and think he's a good doctor, I just think he might be between a rock and a hard place with the insurance companies.

    And not to get too far off topic, but speaking of insurance in America, check out this interesting bit of information that Congressman Weiner from New York came up with:

    http://weiner.house.gov/news_display.aspx?id=1364

    Thanks again - and I'll let you guys know how it goes.
    Adrian

    inherited cancers
    for people like my hubby, we were told, get scoped every 3-5 yrs, he'd been getting screened since 2002 when he was 36... he went 3 times before 2002/2009 -- Sept 09 being the last one, and now has stage III cancer, because he really should have been screened every 2 years at the age of 20 and every year after age 40 -- his former GI didn't know that either, and my hubby's cancer is very rapidly growing and he only had his for about 2 yrs.

    tell your doctor in no uncertain terms, that you are demanding a screening and if he doesnt', you are moving on.

    he is NOT a good doctor if he wont listen to you! it's your body, your life, INSIST upon it.
  • tiny one
    tiny one Member Posts: 465
    symptoms
    I ignored blood in my stool for about 8 years. Finally I went in and saw a Doctor when I was having alot of fatique. They found a cancerous polyp, I was told I was stage 3 colon cancer. I was 47 when I was diagnosed. My Dad had polyp's.
  • booboo1964
    booboo1964 Member Posts: 7
    tell your m.d. you pass
    tell your m.d. you pass blood and have bloating.. I was 44 when dx'd ...my m.d. wanted me to have a colonoscopy for my symptoms and I had put it off for 2 years ! They estimated my cancer had been growing since i was 38-40 years old.
  • robinvan
    robinvan Member Posts: 1,012
    Blood in Stool!!
    Hi Adrian,
    Missed your post when it first came up. Blood in stool, even ocassionally, should be grounds enough for an investigation. It was my only presenting symptom and ignored, by me, for too long. Lot's of good advice upstream. Bottom line... get the scope!

    Rob; in Vancouver
  • PhillieG
    PhillieG Member Posts: 4,866
    About Your PCP
    I think he's on PCP. Ask him to remove his head from his own rear end and put a colonoscopy scope up your rear end.

    You have many factors that are warning signs Adrian. I'm not trying to alarm you but there's the family cancer history, your Mom's polyps and the blood in your stool. What does this guy need to see in order for you to get one?

    Don't stop pushing for it, there is NO reason he should deny you.
    -phil
  • AceSFO
    AceSFO Member Posts: 229
    PhillieG said:

    About Your PCP
    I think he's on PCP. Ask him to remove his head from his own rear end and put a colonoscopy scope up your rear end.

    You have many factors that are warning signs Adrian. I'm not trying to alarm you but there's the family cancer history, your Mom's polyps and the blood in your stool. What does this guy need to see in order for you to get one?

    Don't stop pushing for it, there is NO reason he should deny you.
    -phil

    Thanks
    Hey Phil - great reply - I laughed out loud when I read the first sentence, and no, I'm not alarmed but I do want to be pro-active in this. I was really surprised when I called and the nurse told me that despite what I had said (mother w/ polyps, blood) that I was still too young. She said he was still willing to meet with me though and I have an appointment for next week. I won't take no for an answer.

    Thanks to everyone who responded - I really appreciate it! This is a wonderful community -
    Adrian