Over 50? Stop stalling and get that colonoscopy

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Messages 21 - 40 of total 147 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 28, 2008 - 03:37pm PT
Thanks for all the support, everyone.

I wanted to post this because of my own delay in getting the procedure. I was approaching 53 before I got around to it. So, I can tell you from experience that it is something that is very easy to keep at the bottom of the to-do list.

Abe- I will borrow your Dad’s line, thanks. Reminds me of a famous saying about opera, (Mark Twain perhaps?) something like, “ Opera would be wonderful, except for all the singing.”
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jan 28, 2008 - 03:53pm PT
Nice one, Ron! To add to it:

An endoscopy is really a beginningoscopy, but a :oscopy comes before the end.

For some, these procedures are periodicoscopies.
Blinny

Trad climber
NWMontana
Jan 28, 2008 - 04:30pm PT
And. . . yes. . . Mighty, I meant bummin' me out.. . it really bums me out when pals have to go through this kind of stuff. . . I wish great health and painless lives to everybody and it bums my trip when it doesn't work all the time!

I think Ricky got what I meant.

:-)

KEEP THE MAGIC ALIVE!

eKat
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 28, 2008 - 04:46pm PT
Kath,
Thanks for the vibes!
I understood exactly what you meant. I was likewise bummed, bigtime! It was harshing my mellow like you wouldn't believe.

Rick
Blinny

Trad climber
NWMontana
Jan 28, 2008 - 04:49pm PT
Kisses to Ricky!

oxox

Kath
rmsusa

Trad climber
Boulder
Jan 28, 2008 - 04:55pm PT
Had mine a couple of weeks ago. Fentanyl and Versed make it easy. On my first, five years ago, they discovered a couple of non-cancerous polyps, so I had to go back in 5 years. This time I'm clean. They increased the interval to 10 years. Won't have to drink that stuff for a while.

My uncle died of colon cancer at 70. These days, this is an entirely preventable disease. By the time you have symptoms, it's usually a bit late. See the American Cancer Society website for guidelines.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Jan 28, 2008 - 05:00pm PT
Ride the Willy Stick!!!
TradIsGood

Chalkless climber
the Gunks end of the country
Jan 28, 2008 - 05:02pm PT
Roger, I am not a doctor, but if I recall correctly PSA is a measurement used to detect prostate cancer. Kind of down there, but different.

roslyn

Trad climber
washington
Jan 28, 2008 - 05:05pm PT
just had a colonoscopy last year. my dad has a history of polyps. relatively painless procedure, but like mighty hiker, i was sedated, but woke up near the end of the procedure. Got a good look at the old colon.


people seem to not want to talk about the workings of the lower bowels..............too embarassing! Cancer is way worse than a little embarassment.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Jan 28, 2008 - 05:07pm PT
This is all too familiar. A good friend of mine, an Epidemiologist of a populus state, is vehement on this point.

"It's a leading causde of death in guys our age, and it's completely preventible! Don't settle for the sig, get the whole colonoscopy!"

Brings up a related point. As a recent Kaiser initiate I have to pick a family Doctor, before anything else. Suggestions I'm looking for someone who understands the concept of the senior athelete/adventurer.. Like steve Hong if he lived here and hadn't switched to dermatolgy.

Suggestions? ones to avoid?
I'm in the SF East Bay area; Shadelands/Walnut Creek would be optimal, but I do own a car.
jstan

climber
Jan 28, 2008 - 05:42pm PT
Roger:
If your PSA is increasing, get it checked out.
Anguish

Mountain climber
Jackson Hole Wyo.
Jan 28, 2008 - 05:53pm PT
Last year, at 54, urged on by the death of a friend to colon cancer and the work of Katie Couric (she had a colonoscopy on TV after her hubby died of colon cancer), I went in for one. The found 4 polyps and removed them. One had the potential to be precancerous. I go back a year after, this spring, for a follow up.
Cost: Doc said it would be about a grand, but beware. Total cost, only some of which was paid for by insurance went approximately like this (resort town pricing...)
Colonoscopy - $1,000
OR - about $1,000
Anesthesia - $700
Pathology (biopsy) $900
I asked the Doc whether I was late, and he said no. But I could have been.
Don't delay, boys and girls. Start saving some money if you don't have insurance. It is likely worth it.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Jan 28, 2008 - 06:28pm PT
Hi John,

I did. I had a biopsy. (Odd sounding spring loaded gun for four 2mm by 25mm core samplers.) Anyway, results were all negative. Back in a year.

How are you doing, you old goat. Do you remember your fifties? He, he.

Happy New Year.

All the best, Roger

Edit: Sorry I missed your comment, TradIsGood. I was confusing prostate and colon cancer.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jan 28, 2008 - 06:29pm PT
In Canada, at least in B.C., it's a two stream process. If your GP determines that a colonoscopy is medically required, e.g. due to family history, symptoms, or other reasons, then it's basically free. You may have to wait a bit, but you get it at the hospital.

If it's not medically necessary, i.e. just a good idea, then you can get one for about $1,000 total at a semi-private clinic, fairly quickly. You can claim the cost on your income tax.

Naturally there are complex debates over what is and isn't medically necessary. A few years ago, I had a PSA that was a bit high - I get one annually. Usually I have to pay for it. However, having once shown as high, the next few were without charge.

Pretty much all B.C. citizens pay medical insurance premiums to the government, in my case about $1,000/year. Often covered in part by employers. Premiums much less for those under 19 or over 65. We sometimes have to wait for certain procedures, particularly those that are elective, and there are lots of incidental fees that can add up. But as we live longer and are healthier than peoples in most countries (by World Health Organization measures), that says something.
Festus

Social climber
Enron by the Sea
Jan 28, 2008 - 06:34pm PT
Okay, I stuck my question into Google and came up with this. Pretty good overview of the options/reccomendations:

http://www.genetichealth.com/CRC_Colonoscopy_Versus_Sigmoidoscopy.shtml
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jan 28, 2008 - 06:50pm PT
I'm not sure that riding the Willy stick is a prophylactic measure, but it certainly offers potential to those that lack more conventional means at their disposal. :)
dirtineye

Trad climber
the south
Jan 28, 2008 - 07:15pm PT
Yeah I'm an expert alright.

More of em than I care to count, anyway.

There is a thread here I wrote about now to survive your colonscopy in as much comfort as possible, it's pretty good. In fact, I gave it to my gastroenterologist cause he liked it.

Sigmoidoscopy is BS, get the colonoscopy, cause it covers more ground, going all the way to the beginning of the small bowel.

Endoscopy is fun too.

You guys who are waking up before it's over, you got lousy docs!!!

I've been awake for one endo and one colonsocopy, because I hate Versed.

The usual drugs here are versed and demerol, why they are using fentonyl for these procedures I don't understand. Fentonyl is WAY more powerful than morphine or even dilaudid. It's so strong they measure doses in micrograms, not the normal milligrams.


Anyway, the important thing about colonoscopies is, get one if there is ANY doubt. Waiting til 50 is too late for some, as it was for me ( I got diagnosed with cancer from a polyp in the cecum when I was 42, and it had been growing for a while).

The second important thing is, FORGET About the cost, cause even if you pay 4k for one, if it catches precancerous polyps, then you are done right there that day, and you'll never know the problem existed in any tangible way.

However, if you get colon cancer, you are looking at major surgery, probably chemo, and possible recurrence.

The surgery will cost you at least 30K, but the chemo will cost you way way more. IF you want to be REALLY miserable, take chemo. And BTW, the success rate for the best treatments for colon cancer is about 50%. Some are 20% effective.

So, the relatively small cost of a colonoscopy is easy to justify for what you get.


To the OP, I hope you have a good oncologist, who will tell you all the options and treat you like a person. I had one like that, but I've heard some awful stories.

Don't miss your follow ups. You should have a colonoscopy every 6 months for a while. After 5 years you will be considered cured. Don't believe it! Keep getting screened. My third recurrence showed up 2 years ago (8 years after the first instance, 7 after the second), and it had to be growing for a while. At 5 years I looked clean on scans. SO between 5 and 7 years after my second, I started a third one. If it had been caught at the beginning, I'd be in a lot better shape.

As it is now, I'm a guinea pig, looking for an experimental protocol, with two years of surgery, chemo, complications and misery behind me.

So, take heed, 5 years is NOT cured. That term actually comes from the 50's, when there was almost no success, so 5 years was arbitrarily set as a goal to aim for, as once upon a time, if you lived 5 years after discovery it was a miracle.




Good luck with your path report. I hope you don't have to take chemo.
Big Breasted Woman

Trad climber
The Brown Crack
Jan 28, 2008 - 08:41pm PT

Ah yes, the old colonoscopy. I'm due for my second one shortly! Really isn't all that bad. The absolute worst part is drinking that freakin' Step and Go Lightly that makes you do the Mexican Hat Dance to the to loo! UGH! I'll never drink anything cherry flavoured again!
Bldrjac

Ice climber
Boulder
Jan 28, 2008 - 10:07pm PT
Hey Rick, Pam here! Sorry to hear about your troubles...nasty stuff!!! Glad your prognosis is positive. I'll try to talk Jack into it, but without insurance......even check-ups are prohibitively expensive!
I know you'll be back on the rock and in the waves soon!
cheers,
Pam
Anastasia

Trad climber
Califlower
Jan 28, 2008 - 10:12pm PT
Happy you caught it early!
I always said it is better to be safe than sorry. Even if your colonoscopy turns out completely clear, isn't it nice to "know" you are fine?
I am wishing you a fast recovery!
See ya' on the mountains!
AF
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