Monday, June 25, 2007

The adenoma-carcinoma sequence

Colorectal cancer is the 2nd most common cancer in developed countries. A person's lifetime risk of ending up with this tumor is 1 in 20. Virtually all colon cancers arise from a pre-existing polyp, a phenomenon known as the adenoma-carcinoma sequence.

So here's the deal on colonoscopies. Much as you do not want to go through the icky prep, and much as you do not want someone touring your colon via a tube stuck up your backend, the fact is that colonoscopies are one of the most effective cancer screening tools we have. If a polyp (aka adenoma) is found during the procedure, it's removed on the spot.

Adenoma snagged, cancer averted. It's that simple. I've had mine, go have yours.
Check out the fun at Colonoscopy city!


Elaine said...

My Mother died of colon CA at age 53 so I was high risk. Finally had mine done last summer at age 52. The prep was awful as everyone tells you. But I am the POSTER CHILD for what can go wrong will go wrong! Woke up in recovery coughing and gagging, throat and chest on fire. Respiratory is paged, pulse ox is going nuts, anesthesia is paged, the doctor is paged. Evidently during the procedure I coughed...and yep aspirated stomach contents. Ended up with aspiration pneumonia which required 2 rounds of antibiotics, steroids, the whole nine yards. This for a nurse who weighs 105 perfect health! Good news,no polyps, clean bill of health and I don't have to do this again for 10 years.

Femail doc said...

How awful Elaine, your mother's untimely death AND your ordeal to avoid same. Thank heavens no polyps and no speedy replay of the experience.

I definitely know friends and patients who had awful experiences, and who wonder whether or not they'll come back for the second round.


Anonymous said...

Elaine had an awful ordeal. Mine was minimal (the ordeal). I was encouraged to have procedure after reading Denver doc's description re:her colonoscopy. I was 54 when I had it last year.

I thought it was going smoothly (what did I know--I was sedated, unaware) until I became aware of a very uncomfortable sensation in my abdomen, like severe cramps, only worse, and a nurse holding my hand, saying "everything's ok, we had to ease up on the anesthesia because your BP dropped." Luckily, it was on the (pardon the pun)back end of the exam, so at least I knew it was almost over, but still uncomfortable.

The good news was nothing was found, although the doctor did say that my colon surface was smooth but had more twists and turns than ususal."

Anonymous said...

(I'm the above anonymous)

Oh yeah--I forgot to say I'll check it out again in 10 years; definately worth it! But I won't say colonoscopy 'cause I'm sure there will be an easier way by then and probably better than today's virtual colonoscopy!