DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 75-plus-year-old female in excellent health. My doctor’s comment on my most recent annual physical test results was: “Great results on all tests. Excellent report.” My question: Is it necessary to have another colonoscopy at my age and with my good health. My mother died of colon/rectal cancer at age 85 in 2002, and all family members were advised to have this procedure.
My initial results were two or three polyps removed that were not the type that would recur and were not cancerous. The recommended follow-up was five years. The results of that exam showed no polyps, slight indication of diverticulosis and no recommendation for future follow-up.
My previous doctor has retired, and I just received a letter from his replacement that I am due for another procedure. I am not inclined to do this at my age, and considering the “all clear” reports of the previous exams and my general good health. I would appreciate your thoughts and recommendation. — B.J.M.
ANSWER: The odds are low that the colonoscopy would find something there, but there is still a small chance, especially with your mother having had colon cancer. Not having it is reasonable. But since you seem to be otherwise healthy and can expect a longer life than average, I would still say to get it. In fact, I would encourage you to have it.
The booklet on colon cancer provides useful information about the causes, diagnosis (colonoscopy) and treatment of world’s third most common type of cancer. Readers can obtain a copy by writing: Dr. Roach — No. 505W, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853- 6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery.
DEAR DR. ROACH: My grandson, who is 8 years old, twitches in his sleep. He is tired during the day, but he sleeps eight to 10 hours. While he is sleeping, his body just jerks. Some nights are good and some not. Do we need to address this to the doctor? — C.G.J.
ANSWER: Muscle jerks or twitches at nighttime are normal. There is a very, very small risk that this is a type of epilepsy, but if it is occurring only at night, and there is no family history of epilepsy, it is almost certainly normal. It may lessen as he gets older, but is probably nothing to worry about.
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