Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
Should I have a second opinion on the biopsy test to confirm the "intra mucosal" nature of the polyp? It sounds like, to my nonphysican ear, that the polyp tumor was confined to the polyp and had not spread. We apparently caught it in developing stage. Is this unusual? What should I do and did I catch it in time? Your thoughts will be appreciated.
Timothy C. Hoops, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Gastroenterology Division at the University of Pennsylvania and Director of Gastroenterology at Penn Medicine at Radnor, responds:
An intramucosal carcinoma of the colon is a pathological diagnosis. In general, these are cancerous cells that are out of their normal location, but have moved only slightly into the surrounding tissue. If this truly was the finding, than the odds are strongly in your favor that this has been completely removed and should cause no further problem. There should be no problem if you want to get a second pathology opinion to confirm the findings. This is obviously a very early cancer. As such, the chance for a cure with a polypectomy is nearly complete, although one cannot be 100% certain. It is usually recommended that a follow-up colonoscopy be done within about 6 months to be certain that the entire polyp has been removed. Thereafter, you should get another study in about 3 years to look for new polyps. Your doctor should be able to tailor the follow-up recommendations to fit your particular situation.
I would agree that you are a good example of why one should undergo colon cancer screening. If you had not, there is an excellent chance you would have progressed to a more advanced colon cancer with less of a chance for a cure.