Colonoscopy interval - Yearly or Every 3 Years?

Posted by evw100 @ew100, Jun 19, 2018

I just received the pathology report for my colonoscopy that I had 2 weeks ago. I had one sessile serrated polyp removed and 4 diminutive tubular adenoma polyps biopsied. These 2 types of polyps, which, left alone, can turn into cancer! I had colonoscopy every 5 years because my mother had colon cancer when she was 77 and died 8 years later. I'm 77 years old. My colonoscopy 5 years ago was no polyps! Because of these pre-cancerous polyps now growing inside my colon, I'm scared and worried sick! Should I have colonoscopy more often, yearly or every 3 years? Anyone who has the same problem, please tell me your experience. My follow-up appointment with my doctor is July 3rd but I can't wait for the answer. I appreciate your response and it sure will bring some peace on my mind in the meantime! Thank you so very much!

@ew100…. if I were you I would talk with my principle care provider (doctor), I assume you are on medicare… dbl chk with them if they cover annual tests in cases like yours. Good Luck!

@ew100 I also understand your concern, I been known to make myself a nervous wreck worrying about cancer. My Mom died from cancer too.
I had a stage 1 cecum cancer in the colon.

I am going to guess every 3 yrs.

After my stage 1 colon cancer that was removed by a colon resecton. the follow-up was every 6 months. Then once a year for first 2 yrs. Now that my last colonopscopy had clean polyps they moved me to every 3 yrs.

It takes like 10 to 12 yrs for a polyp to become cancerous. And they say I'm a polyp farmer. LOL.. If he found something serious he would call you immediately. My Dr. did when he found the pre-cancerous fat polyp hidden under an ulcer in my cecum.

Praying it turns out all good for you. Will you share what the outcome ends up and what the Dr says after your appointment?

I really appreciate this conversation and the honest query and responses. I hear your pain and relate. My Dad also died of colon cancer at 63: I am now turning 66 soon.. I can rationalize that it won't happen to me with: " I eat a better diet" etc… but I still do worry. I have had polyps, and now staged polyps, for the lat three colonoscopies that have spanned over 15-17 years. The last colonoscopy revealed I actually have tattoos in two sites where I have had irregular and staged polyps (didn't know about the "markings" and am very glad I changed Gastroenterologists who are now better communicators).

I am now on the three year cycle and would guess that is where you will be too. I do my best to not allow constipation to happen and eat / drink a healthy diet, get my exercise in, and live a happy life. I also read and keep up with the evidenced based information that is getting easier and easier for the lay person to find. While I an a nurse of 20 + years, I am still challenged by finding the latest research and must make the effort to seek it out.

The very best in your gathering of information and living a full and healthy life. Please do keep in touch….

Hi I also have a history of colon polyps. My father died from it at 68. I have to have colonoscopy every year because I keep making more polyps. From what you said I would think every year. Better safe than sorry. I actually had one 6 months apart and they still found polyps. Good luck stay healthy.

Hi @ew100,

I can imagine how worried you must be, so I'd like to invite @azcyclist2018 @boogirl @monicajones @jww1 @azlinda who may have experiences to share and support to offer.

Have you seen the the Gastroenterology & GI Surgery Page on Connect? To increase understanding of risks, prevention, screening options and treatment for both colon cancer and rectal cancer, Mayo Clinic colorectal cancer experts have answered some common questions through short videos on this Page.
Here's a direct link to some of the videos;

According to this information Mayo Clinic, if you have had an adenomatous polyp or a serrated polyp, your doctor is likely to recommend a colonoscopy:
– In five to 10 years if you had only one or two small adenomas
– In three years if you had more than two adenomas, adenomas measuring 0.4 inches (about 1 centimeter) or larger, or certain adenomas
– Within three years if you had more than 10 adenomas,

I know this may be a lot of reading for you, but I'd sincerely encourage you to go through some of these Mayo Clinic patient stories about hope and success in dealing with such conditions;

@ew100, dealing with the possibility of a chronic condition is a journey, but you don’t have to do it alone. May I ask if you experienced any symptoms before the colonoscopy?

Hi Kanaaz: Thank you so much for your reply! I'll look and reach out to all the links and the Mayo Connect members for more help information. Answering your question, before the colonoscopy, I did have very bad case of hemorrhoid with bleeding and my pencil-thin frequent bowel movements! Now, my hemorrhoid is better with no more bleeding and my bowel movements if more normal size and not more than 3 times a day. Also, I'm gaining some weight back. My normal weight was 125 lb and I'm now 115. I lost about 10 lbs since beginning of this year.
Thank you so very much for all who had taken the time to share your experiences and information regarding this problem!

I’m very grateful for all the responses I received! This is the info my gastroenterologist told me during my recent follow-up visit “Repeat the colonoscopy in 3 years. With my family history and number of polyps, my colon cancer risk is 0.3-1.0 % and not to be scared”!
Thanks to you all again!

I’m suffering from constipation and acid reflux! I spent many hours researching online for foods and drinks that do not make these symptoms worse! I’m so frustrated because it seems like if it’s good for constipation then it’s bad for acid reflux, e.g. tomato juice is good for constipation but causes heartburn! I have stopped my morning coffee, chocolate, breads, probiotics supplement and soy milk. They either cause constipation or acid reflux or both! Would appreciate your sharing of your experience. Thanks!

Hi @ew100,

I merged your message about finding others who may be able to share their experiences with constipation, with your discussion started on Colonoscopy interval so that you could reconnect with the members who joined that discussion. How are you feeling at present? Has your doctor recommended any diet or medication that might ease the constipation and also take care of the reflux?

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