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Cancer: Colon Message Board

Cancer: Colon Board Index

No Colonoscopy?
Nov 7, 2012
I had a CT scan for prostate cancer in Sept. 2012. The radiologist found a suspicious area in the ileocecal area which could be stool, collapsed bowel or possible neoplasm (colon cancer). I have no symptoms whatsoever of colon cancer or prostate cancer. The suspicious area is probably not prostate related. A prostate cancer stage 3 cancerous lymph node, not near the cecum, is "stable". That's why I get a CT scan every 4 months. No symptoms, PSA 350. My PSA doubled every 4-5 years from 1993-2008, then made a big jump so I started seeing an oncologist. No prostate symptoms and never had treatment. Symptoms might change my mind.

My oncologist recommened I ask my PCP to prescribe a colonoscopy. My PCP also recommends a colonoscopy. With no symptoms whatsoever of prostate cancer or colon cancer, I do not want to risk possible damage from a colonoscopy. I have refused a prostate biopsy because of the risks in the rectum and a colonoscopy is much more invasive than a prostate biopsy.

My PCP says if I should decide NOT to have colon cancer treatment (SURGERY!!), if cancer is found, I do not need to have a colonoscopy.

The cancer center nurse who manages the Mercy Hospital cancer library asked me whether length of life or quality of life was more important to me. I told her "quality of life". (I'm age 82.) Then she said, "the decision is yours", always. She said if I do not plan to have colon cancer treatment (surgery), then I need not have a colonoscopy.

My problem is that I can find no information on the internet that traces the most typical paths colon cancer takes, and how long between stages for UNTREATED colon cancer.

My Aunt Bess had frank bleeding from the bowel in the 1970s and was admitted to the hospital. While there, she slipped and fell, breaking her hip. Because she was age 90, she had no colon cancer surgery and her hip was not set. She was bedridden til death but I have no further details. Old people many times lose their appetite and also do not drink enough water. Death can occur from malnutrition, dehydration or pneumonia as well as from heart problems or cancer. I do no know the official cause of her death, except that it was probably "natural'" from one or more of these causes. We all have to die of something, sometime. We all just hope that it's not in misery and that pain is adequately controlled.

Does anyone have any details of the progress of untreated colon cancer? of course, with treatment, there are many possible side effects from surgery and other threatments. That's why hospitals have support groups. And percentages are high for a middle aged person to die from colon cancer even if they have been treated. The decision might be different, for me, age 82 than for someone age 50-60. Colon cancer is slow growing, as is prostate cancer.


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