Colon Cancer found during colonoscopy?

  1. Mom, age 86. Suspected GI bleed due to weakness and low Hematocrit. Colonoscopy today. I am a RN which means next to nothing when the patient is your own mom (lol)...(my background is Geriatrics/Hospice...)
    the GI doc found a "growth". I was in there, I saw it on the screen. It was big, and it was ugly, and yes, it was bleeding.(I've never seen the inside of the colon before but I knew that thing I was looking at did not belong there...) He biopsied it... and I said, "what are the chances that is benign?" and he just shook his head. I asked who he would send his mom to, and he picked up the phone and called the surgeon right then. They called me back within the hour! We see her on Monday.
    The "growth" is at the juncture between the transverse colon and the descending colon. He was not able to get past it with the scope.
    Obviously one concern is avoiding a possible bowel obstruction...
    I didnt even THINK of staging things...
    She is in pretty good shape for 86 but, she is 86...Mom had breast CA 40 years ago but has been clean since. She has no other comorbidities... she had her aortic valve replaced a year ago; and she swore she would not have any more major surgery.
    Im trying to prepare for what the surgeon may say and for questions from the family...the GI doc said maybe it could be repaired laporoscopically... (I KNOW I am not spelling that right!) and that the growth was about 2" X 3"...but he was estimating...
    Unusual to call the surgeon like that? Risk of obstruction enough to get everyone moving so fast? Seriously- could an entire resection be done with a lap? At her age is the standard of care just surgery? (I cant imagine her agreeing to undergo chemo or radiation)... this may sound like a really dumb question but... doesnt taking those biopsies increase risk of the cancer cells spreading?
    Can anyone help me sort some of this out? I realize you cant diagnose anything but Im looking for some inside preparation...
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    About zacsmimi

    Joined: Jul '04; Posts: 106; Likes: 17
    Clinical Educator
    Specialty: 20 year(s) of experience


  3. by   psalm
    These are all good questions that you & your mom should have answered by the doc. A safe bet if you can't wait til morning it go online to mayo clinic or such and go to the FAQs for bowel surgeries.
  4. by   hot flasher
    I work in an Ambulatory Surgery/GI Lab unit and we see patients frequently with the same situation as your mom. We almost always arrange for appt. with the surgeon before they are discharged same day, so that is not at all unusual. There is always a risk of obstruction, but unless the "mass" is totally occluding the lumen, things somehow seem to find a way to get through! No one in our area does this type of surgery laparoscopically, but I'm sure they do in some areas of the country. I would be sure the surgeon has done this many times before, or I would elect to go with an open approach. Sounds like, based on the location of the mass, that a resection is likely, no need for colostomy, unless there is more going on than is obvious. Depending on the stage/metastasis, chemo +/or radiation may be recommended, as well. I have seen many patients your mom's age successfully undergo treatment for colon cancer. Best of luck and be sure to keep asking questions until you are satisfied!!