Positive Biopsy after Colonoscopy: What’s Next?

What happens after a positive biopsy after a colonoscopy?

positive biopsyPatients with positive biopsy results after colonoscopy likely want to know what is next. That depends on the type of cancer you are dealing with. Every cancer is different and requires a different treatment. Dr. Mark Gimbel describes what to expect after a positive colon cancer biopsy in this video.

To learn more about what to do after a colon cancer diagnosis watch “Five Questions to Have Answered After a Diagnosis” with Dr. Madappa Kundranda.

Video Transcripts

Mark Gimbel, MD: So let me give you an overview on what happens when I get a patient who is set to see me because they have a positive biopsy at colonoscopy. We now know that we are dealing with a colon cancer and one of the first steps we need to do is make sure that that colon cancer is confined to the colon and no other place. So what I typically do is order a CAT scan to make sure that there is no other intraabdominal disease and if there is going to be, its usually in the liver if it has spread, if it has gone beyond the lymph nodes. Once I have the results of that CAT scan, if it is confined to the colon and/or the lymph nodes then this patient is a surgical candidate.

If it has spread beyond, they can be a surgical candidate, but it is a much more involved decision to decide whether or not to take them to the operating room. So for a patient who does have a colon cancer confined to the colon or to the colon and the lymph nodes, I would take them to surgery and the surgery that I would usually do is what is called a laparoscopic surgery. Laparoscopic means using cameras and instruments within the abdominal cavity through small incisions and then making a little bit larger incision to extract the specimen. That surgery is pretty well tolerated where patients are in the hospital for say three to five days until bowel recovery resumes and then after that time, they are going home. They are home typically for a week or two until I see him back in followup and if they are doing well at their followup appointment then I will send them to the medical oncologist to discuss chemotherapy. Usually like to wait about four weeks from the surgery before they are going to consider getting chemotherapy because I really want to make sure all their anastomosis that I put them back together is well healed and it takes the body about six weeks to fully heal from any surgery.

Mark Gimbel
Dr.Gimbel graduated from the University of Maryland, and then had an internship at the University of Florida, Jacksonville and residencies at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. He spent two years doing a surgical residency fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center New York and completed a surgical oncology fellowship at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla.

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