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Old 06-03-2016, 09:11 PM
 
Location: somewhere
4,264 posts, read 8,503,314 times
Reputation: 3160

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stockyman View Post
Basically my mother is turning 77 this year and has no history with colon cancer in the family. However in the most recent physical where she had to give a stool sample there was a hint of blood, which led my family doctor to recommend a specialist who made an appointment to do a colonoscopy this month. I suspect there was blood because my mother suffers from constipation and prior to giving the stool sample she forced herself to go which caused her to bleed quite a bit. After that though, there's been no blood whatsoever.

The problem is my mother's mental and physical health has declined late last year and if this scheduled colonoscopy had occurred before all her other problems she would not have hesitated to do this procedure. She's not sure if she can fast the day before and does not want to take the prescriptions to make her empty out her colon. She finds the procedure too difficult because of her current health. She does not want her to go but the doctor and specialist want her in cause there's a health problem.

Should I force her to go or let her cancel? I'm worried on the day of the procedure she will flat out cancel. She's mentioned that she might. On the one hand I don't really think she has any type of colon cancer but I'd hate myself if there was an actual problem that the colonoscopy could find.

She's an adult but my mother and her reasoning is not 100% logical at the moment. Not sure what I should do. I've read that colonoscopies can be hard on very elderly people and useless after age 75.

What should I do?
Unless you can have your mother declared mentally incompetent, not sure how you could "force" her to do anything. If she doesn't want to have the procedure, leave her be.
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Old 06-03-2016, 10:17 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
28,187 posts, read 18,564,570 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post
A small amount of blood in the stool is pretty common. It can be from hemorrhoids or straining.

I'm surprised your doctor would go straight for a colonoscopy. Ask if she can do an fecal occult blood test instead. This checks for hidden blood in stool and can be done at home. If that comes back positive, then go from there.
This.
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Old 06-03-2016, 10:27 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
30,617 posts, read 32,987,075 times
Reputation: 37875
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post
A small amount of blood in the stool is pretty common. It can be from hemorrhoids or straining.

I'm surprised your doctor would go straight for a colonoscopy. Ask if she can do an fecal occult blood test instead. This checks for hidden blood in stool and can be done at home. If that comes back positive, then go from there.
Blood in the stool may be common and can be due to benign causes, but it is not normal. She has already had frank rectal bleeding and a stool that tested positive for blood; that is why the colonoscopy was recommended in the first place. Even if another test is done and comes back negative, that does not erase the positive result. Further testing is indicated to determine the cause. One cannot just assume it's due to hemorrhoids or straining.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nor'Eastah View Post
At the age of 77, your mother has already outlived the average person. Her prospects look good for age 80.
The "average person" is not what we should compare to. The question is how many more years does the average 77 year old female expect to live: 11.5 years.

Life Expectancy of a 77 year old - Data by Race, Gender


Quote:
Originally Posted by Aredhel View Post
What would your mother want to do if a colonoscopy DID find a cancer? Would she want to undergo major surgery to remove it, or would she opt for palliative care? The answer to that question should help guide her decision.
This is the best answer here so far.

Before she answers Aredhel's questions, OP's mother should know that if she has a colon cancer, the natural progression of the disease can lead to obstruction of the bowel that would require surgery, probably emergently, and most probably a colostomy just for palliation. Death from a bowel obstruction is an awful way to go. In fact, the symptom of constipation in addition to blood in the stool is worrisome. Unless her current health is so poor that her life expectancy is very short, dealing with the issue is probably better in the long run than ignoring it.

One option would be to ask about having a sigmoidoscopy rather than a full colonoscopy. The prep is less rigorous. The sigmoidoscopy just evaluates the descending colon and will miss about half of cancers.

Also, the procedure in this instance is for diagnosis, not just screening, since there are worrisome symptoms present.
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Old 06-04-2016, 05:26 AM
 
10,604 posts, read 15,605,647 times
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Maybe you didn't literally mean "force" but you couldn't anyway. Since she'd have to do that cleansing preparation that you mentioned in advance. Good luck with that LOL.

If the procedure is to be complete and accurate, the colon must be completely cleaned, and there are several colonoscopy preparations. Patients are given detailed instructions about the cleansing preparation. In general, this consists of drinking a large volume of a special cleansing solution or several days of a clear liquid diet and laxatives or enemas prior to the examination. These instructions should be followed exactly as prescribed or the procedure may be unsatisfactory (visualization of the lining of the colon may be obscured by residual stool), and it may have to be repeated, or a less accurate alternative test may be performed in its place.

What bowel preparation is needed for colonoscopy? - Colonoscopy: Prep, Procedure, Side Effects
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Old 06-04-2016, 06:32 AM
 
4,950 posts, read 2,665,853 times
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I believe many of today's tests are the doctor's way of covering his own butt.

Leave your mother alone.
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Old 06-04-2016, 06:44 AM
Status: "We're all broken, that's how the light gets in." (set 19 days ago)
 
Location: Wonderland
55,878 posts, read 44,307,952 times
Reputation: 79116
Quote:
Originally Posted by suzy_q2010 View Post
Blood in the stool may be common and can be due to benign causes, but it is not normal. She has already had frank rectal bleeding and a stool that tested positive for blood; that is why the colonoscopy was recommended in the first place. Even if another test is done and comes back negative, that does not erase the positive result. Further testing is indicated to determine the cause. One cannot just assume it's due to hemorrhoids or straining.



The "average person" is not what we should compare to. The question is how many more years does the average 77 year old female expect to live: 11.5 years.

Life Expectancy of a 77 year old - Data by Race, Gender

Before she answers Aredhel's questions, OP's mother should know that if she has a colon cancer, the natural progression of the disease can lead to obstruction of the bowel that would require surgery, probably emergently, and most probably a colostomy just for palliation. Death from a bowel obstruction is an awful way to go. In fact, the symptom of constipation in addition to blood in the stool is worrisome. Unless her current health is so poor that her life expectancy is very short, dealing with the issue is probably better in the long run than ignoring it.

One option would be to ask about having a sigmoidoscopy rather than a full colonoscopy. The prep is less rigorous. The sigmoidoscopy just evaluates the descending colon and will miss about half of cancers.

Also, the procedure in this instance is for diagnosis, not just screening, since there are worrisome symptoms present.
OP, this is the discussion I would have with your mother.

I think she should be encouraged to make her own decision with her own body, but it needs to be an INFORMED decision.
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Old 06-04-2016, 07:55 AM
 
14,065 posts, read 14,198,766 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stagemomma View Post
My mom is 80 and recently announced that she was done with colonoscopies. Her body, her choice, and I have no argument with it.
My 65 year old dad said the last one he had was horrible and refuses to ever get another one, so I definitely wouldn't force him- not that I'd be able to anyway.
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Old 06-04-2016, 07:58 AM
 
16,108 posts, read 21,737,232 times
Reputation: 26531
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post
A small amount of blood in the stool is pretty common. It can be from hemorrhoids or straining.

I'm surprised your doctor would go straight for a colonoscopy. Ask if she can do an fecal occult blood test instead. This checks for hidden blood in stool and can be done at home. If that comes back positive, then go from there.
I read there are at home tests, check with Dr.
http://www.healthline.com/health-new...-cancer-032015
http://www.webmd.com/colorectal-canc...on-cancer-test
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Old 06-04-2016, 08:07 AM
 
Location: Mount Airy, Maryland
13,263 posts, read 7,374,374 times
Reputation: 20732
I think you folks are being a little hard on the opening poster. If it were my mother I would certainly be concerned and would try to influence her decision. Everyone over 50 should get them regularly, it's pretty clear that she has not done this and yeah that's a problem.

I was also going to suggest the home tests, saw it on the news. But they were expensive, something like $700 and most are not covered. Still if it's a one time thing maybe this is the answer. Then of course the real decision is what to do at that age if something is found.
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Old 06-04-2016, 08:16 AM
 
Location: Florida
13,682 posts, read 6,768,768 times
Reputation: 28013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aredhel View Post
What would your mother want to do if a colonoscopy DID find a cancer? Would she want to undergo major surgery to remove it, or would she opt for palliative care? The answer to that question should help guide her decision.

This is how I feel also. My stepfather died from complications of a colonoscopy when his bowel was punctured. Plus there have been many warnings about people getting infections from the equipment they use which is impossible to sterilize and is used over and over again.

I'm 61, have never had one and never will. It's just another money maker for the doctors. Older people seem to get constipated a lot which would account for the slight blood in the stool. If there is no history of colon cancer in your family then leave her alone to make her own decision.
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