Oncology (General Cancer)/worried...


QUESTION: dear friend, I am writting desesperate from Caracas because in a colonoscopy they found 4 sessil polyps. I am 53 years old. 6 years ago another colonoscopy but I was all right. The doctor took one of these four polyps to analize. According with the doctor one of these polps is around 2 cm. To be honest I am terrified....1 year ago anothjer doctor did a rectosigmoidoscopy in stead of colonoscopy..I do not know why....I am obssesive about this problem...all day long thinking about this....too worried...I think what would happen if the doctor does not cut the poly in the right way...etc...etc.etc....
Can you give me your opinion please....

ANSWER: A polyp takes at least six years to become a cancer, and most polyps won't become cancer.  That's why when polyps are found and removed, you can prevent 95% of colon cancer if you do the procedure every five years.  In fact now the recommendation is that if no polyps are found, a colonoscopy should be done every ten years.  That's because it takes 3-4 years for a polyp to form.  So don't obsess; and make sure you get another colonoscopy in five years.  If the doctor did not remove all the polyps (and usually they do) there must have been a reason -- perhaps they were too small, in which case it's safe to wait till the next colonoscopy.  Sometimes in this situation just to be safe, another procedure is done in three years rather than five.  As for whatever happened in the past, it doesn't mean anything about your future.  Hope this helps and be sure to ask the doctor about whether he left polyps behind, and why, and what he would recommend.  

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QUESTION: Thanks. Dear doctor. You helped me a lot. I feel more cool now. The problem, my obssesion is that one of the 4 polyps is sessile and around 2 cm. I Have read terrible things about polyps with these characteristics. What is your opinión. Thanks again

Sessile polyps are more serious than pedunculated polyps.  Sessile polyps can become cancerous (over a ten year period) about 20% of the time; pedunculated, about 5%.  If they are removed, they are no threat.  And if a person gets a colonoscopy based upon the findings of a previous one (if sessile polyps are found and removed, then another colonoscopy should be done five years later (some people say three but I think that's too frequent) then your risk is nearly zero.  Stop worrying, start making sure your diet and other habits are good, and maybe take a baby aspirin every couple of days which will reduce your risk of heart attacks and may reduce your risk of colon events.  Hope this helps.  

Oncology (General Cancer)

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Donald Higby, M.D.


I can answer almost all questions related to the treatment and natural course of most kinds of cancer, especially cancers of prostate, colon, lung and breast.


I have been a practicing medical oncologist for 36 years, and have been chief of service at a major medical center for 25 years. I've also done research in cancer treatments.

American Society of Clinical Oncology

New England Journal of Medicine American Journal of Medicine Journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Hematology Transfusion Medicine

MD, Stanford University Internal Medicine residency, St. Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO Medical Oncology Fellowship, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY

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America's Best Physicians, last 14 years

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