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Colon Cancer

Colon Cancer After a Clear Colonoscopy

05/26/2011

Question:

How long, after having a clear colonoscopy, could you develop colon cancer symptoms? My mom died of colon cancer. I have been getting colonoscopies every 5 years since the age of 40 yrs. I am now 53 and had my last colonoscopy at 50, but have developed cramps, mucus, and a small amount of blood in stool. I am concerned.

Answer:

We have seen cancers develop as soon as a year after colonoscopy but these are uncommon. Assuming the last exam had a good prep, you would normally be protected for at least five years. However, given your symptoms, I would recommend checking with your doctor about whether a colonoscopy is necessary now or not.

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Response by:

Gregory S Cooper, MD Gregory S Cooper, MD
Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University