Frequency of Colonoscopy

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 514
   Posted 11/5/2007 12:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Ok, so I thought I read that Cs should be given yearly after you have had UC for more than 7 years or something like that.  Well, I was watching Oprah(ok..shoot me sometimes I like the show!) and they said it takes 10+ years for colon cancer to form and that polyps in the colon form and if detected within those 10 years and removed no cancer will form.  My question is this..does UC cause the polyps to turn cancerous more rapidly?  If not, why do we have to have Cs so frequently??  I of course don't want colon cancer, but with this info it seems like once every 5 years would be ok.  I know I need to talk to my GI about this, but wanted to hear what everyone else has heard on this subject.  I am going in for my first C within the next 3 months.  I've had 3 sigmoidoscopies before, but never a full C.  I just think anytime you get put under anithestic there is a risk and to do it every year seems like a lot!  I have an 18 month old, so I think about things like never waking up now!  I of course know colon cancer is MUCH worse, but still...
Officially Diagnosed with UC in June 2003.  Have had stomach issues since 1989.  Unknown if they are related or not.  Have mild/moderate UC.  Have had 4 flares, the last one caused by hormones from stopping breastfeeding.  Currently back in remission!  Only taking 6 Asacol a day.   Will take Rowasa enemas as needed. Colozal did not work for me.  Luckily my UC is relatively minor and responds well to meds, but man do those flares hurt!

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 343
   Posted 11/5/2007 2:14 PM (GMT -6)   
Well, I had my last C in Jan this year, and did it while I was awake. They just pumped a lot of air in there and did it. It took about 15min and I was done. It's not fun, but I did it and I'll do it that way from now on. My next C will be in 2yrs, unless something happens.

<FONT color=#0000ff>Bad flares Guniess & hot wings

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 221
   Posted 11/5/2007 2:45 PM (GMT -6)   
good topic. I want to know more too
updated medication schedule coming on 11-2-07

started Prednisone & Asacol on Thursday 10-4-2007

10-22-07- coming out of about an 8 week flare (my first one ever)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 1015
   Posted 11/5/2007 6:36 PM (GMT -6)   
The way my GI explained it was every 5 years until i've had UC for 10 years then it was every 2 or 3. He said the chance of colon cancer increases after 10 years of this disease so more colonoscopies are needed to be safe. I'm interested what others have heard...
Kelly, 29

Left sided UC diagnosed 1/98 age 19, Pan colitis diagnosed 1/07
Currently on 4x3 Asacol, Rowasa every other night, 15 mg pred. until immuran kicks in...
75mg Imuran starting 8/23/07---bumped to 100mg 10/8/07
Prontonix once daily for acid reflux, zofran twice daily for nausea

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 29
   Posted 11/5/2007 8:12 PM (GMT -6)   
I am 34 and I have had like 3 in my life. I know being put to sleep is scary ( I have 3 daughters myself) but they don't put you into a deep sleep and they can give you something light before the colonoscopy to calm your nerves. It really isn't that bad at all and your back awake in about 20 min. Hope that helps a little:)
Terri D.
Asacol 2x4times a day
Toprol XL 25mg a day for rapid HB
l5-S1 disc rupture in 2004
Thyroid nodules and levels swing in and out:(

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 3238
   Posted 11/5/2007 8:24 PM (GMT -6)   
I saw that Oprah too! My GI wants to do my next colonoscopy 8 years after my first (almost 3 years ago). After that it decreases...I think 5 years, then 3 and then yearly. Oh and if I have active bleeding he will go ahead and do another one.
Tabitha (Tab)

100mg Azathioprine, 2 Fibercon, Colazal-6 a day, Acidopholis Pearls, Prilosec OTC
Co-Moderator UC Forum

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 61
   Posted 11/8/2007 9:01 AM (GMT -6)   
I had my first colonoscopy 5-6 years ago. They found 2 small polyps, and removed them. They were both benign & noncancerous. I just had my 2nd one. He found 1 polyp, and it was precancerous. I think that if they find a polyp or more with the 1st one, non cancerous, 5 years is ok. Once it's precancerous she said every 3 years or so. This all presuming that the UC doesn't require them more often. Colonoscopies aren't that bad. If I didn't have the UC as well as the polyp, I'd have been up & running again the next day, after removal of that polyp. The polyp pain was gone immediately. Most say you can't feel them, but my body is ultra-sensitive to them now (I've also had them intra-uterine since teens, they cause me great pain/had hysterectomy in 2006-no children).
2 asacol 3x daily  for UC.  Canasa suppositories, also 3x daily, as needed.
1 depacote 3x daily for bipolar disorder

Old Hat
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Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 5187
   Posted 11/8/2007 11:00 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi, *Jen* -- I was actually thinking of you yesterday because of what Trixy wrote in the "Pharmacy is out of Rowasa" thread (original enema vs. generic)! On the subject of c-scope timing: I tend to pay attention to what gastro Dr. Daniel Present advocates because at the time I was 1st diagnosed in 1980, he & colleague Mark Chapman were about the only U.S. doctors writing/publishing reliable info on IBD for patients. (He has long experience treating IBD & does not rush to judgment on issues just to keep up with the latest trends.) It seems from his writing that he does not push annual c-scopes until the patient reaches 20 yrs post-diagnosis, UNLESS they have complications at earlier stages. He is also conservative in attitude toward dysplasia-- so, definitely not out to rush patients to major surgery for no good solid reason. C-scope is no pleasure; apart from the prep there are issues surrounding types of biopsies done + sedation administered. Generally the latter is a combo of Versed & Demerol; I believe that Versed is a no-no during pregnancy, also it can be problematic for seniors post-procedure. That being said, I have tried to get by having it done about every 2 1/2 yrs because I did have 2 polyps when initially diagnosed with UC, but otherwise responded to existing meds so that my UC did not become pancolitis. Quincy, who has long experience with proctosigmoiditis, writes that her gastro, who sounds very reasonable, favors c-scope every 3 yrs as long as biopsies come out clean.  You will likely get a reliable assessment from Uma Mahadevan that will be based on your particular physical condition, which is how scope decisions should be made. I don't think there is any one pattern that fits all, but 1-3 yrs btw scopes is the soundest interval based on current medical knowledge of IBD & CRC. / Old Hat (nearly 30 yrs with left-sided UC ... [etc.])

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 326
   Posted 11/8/2007 11:40 AM (GMT -6)   
I can't speak to Colonoscopy for a routine checkup, but (because of Colitis problems) I have had two in the last 4 months. Going under is scary--but I prefer it to being awake for the procedure!
diagnosed with cecal volvulus, 2006; two colon resections in the same year
diagnosed with colitis 2007
malrotated colon
no cecal valve, removed during surgery

VSL #3
Amitriptyline to slow gastric emptying

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 75
   Posted 11/8/2007 12:47 PM (GMT -6)   
I've had UC since about 1979 and for the past 10-15 years I've had a colonoscopy about every year.  I've read that the risk for colon cancer increases incrementally each year after the 10-year mark.  I used to think that it was a little often because my colitis has been relatively mild with few flares over that last 28 years.   But after this year's colonoscopy with biopsies came the report of high-grade dysplasia in the right side (ascending) of my colon and a recommendation of surgery.
In September of this year I had a total abdominal colectomy with ileo-rectal anastomosis, where they remove all of the colon from the abdominal cavity and re-attach the ileum to the top of the rectum.  I was given the option of keeping the rectum and a little of the sigmoid colon because they appeared normal from the colonoscopy and biopsy reports.  I consider myself lucky because when they biopsied the colon after removal they found a very small occurence of cancer in the ascending colon and were sure that it was all removed in the surgery.  It was at the hepatic flexure, which is the part of the colon that is close to the liver.  If the cancer had grown through the wall of the colon it would probably have been in the liver next.
So, I'd recommend getting scoped as often as your doctor suggests as I feel like it saved my life.  The surgery wasn't fun but the alternative was worse.

53 yr old male, UC since 1978
800mg Asacol x 3 daily
Forteo(for osteoporosis)
600mg calcium + 200 iu Vit. D x 3 daily
Advicor(for cholesterol)

Old Hat
Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 5187
   Posted 11/8/2007 1:12 PM (GMT -6)   
You are one very brave man, UcRick. Best wishes for a thorough recovery. / Old Hat (nearly 30 yrs with left-sided UC; currently on 3 Colazal daily; seem to be back in remission after July flare in descending colon)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 514
   Posted 11/9/2007 11:15 AM (GMT -6)   

Old Hat - Thank you!  It is so great to hear advice from local GIs and yes I will be asking Uma about it when I go in for my first C in Jan.  Just wanted to get everyone's take on it after seeing the Oprah show(I know she isn't the best source of info, but still interesting points they brought up)

UC- So you had relatively minor UC and still had to have your colon removed?  Wow!  I love hearing from folks that have had UC for a long time.  I know everyone is different, but it is still good to hear from others so that if I do have to have something severe done eventually it won't be a 100% shock.  Thank you so much for sharing!

Officially Diagnosed with UC in June 2003.  Have had stomach issues since 1989.  Unknown if they are related or not.  Have mild/moderate UC.  Have had 4 flares, the last one caused by hormones from stopping breastfeeding.  Currently back in remission!  Only taking 6 Asacol a day.   Will take Rowasa enemas as needed. Colozal did not work for me.  Luckily my UC is relatively minor and responds well to meds, but man do those flares hurt!

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 194
   Posted 11/9/2007 12:43 PM (GMT -6)   
I have been having yearly colonoscopies since the age of 30. I am now 62. I was diagnosed at age 15. Because I have had this disease so long, I suppose I have to keep doing this. I have never shown any polyps or dysplasia.
Before this site, I never even talked to anyone with IBD at all. Recently a long time friend of my sister's husband developed UC at age 64. He is miserable and in flares all the time. Of course he refuses to give up alcohol ( I think he is an alcoholic) and I do not think that helps. He doesn't believe that I REALLY have the disease since he has never seen me in a bad flare. My worst flares were in my teens (before I knew him) when I spent over a month in hospitals, and in my twenties and early thirties, a time when I rarely saw them.

Anyway, my GI thinks yearly is best for me because of my long term condition. So I go with it.

Maybe he and the other doctors assume I will be getting cancer because of the longevity of my disease. When I was first told about the cancer connect with UC way back when I was in my twenties, I just assumed that was my fate. Since then, several people in my life who have had no iBD have had colon cancer. My best friend died from it and she was only in her middle forties when she died. My b-i-l had is over 25 years ago and is doing well. Another friend from high school had surgery for it four years ago and so far is recovering.

I wish they would find a cure for IBD so no one has to live their entire lives with this disease.
diagnosed with UC in 1962
regualr meds:
Asulfadine (500mg tablets, 6 daily)
Folic Acid
Zantac as needed
open heart surgery in 2005 for removal of aortic root aneurysm

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