I had a colonoscopy recently and the doctor removed a polyp. He told me I should get follow-up in six months. I asked him why, since he already determined that it wasn't cancerous and these things grow slowly. He said "Just do it".

Even if we know there is a missed polyp, does this warrant such an invasive procedure so soon?

I'm not trying to be smarter than the doctor, just trying to understand how quickly polyps and cancers grow in the gut. FIT test comes up clean.

  • 1
    The only reason I can think of for a follow-up colonoscopy is to ensure the excised polyp has healed properly and that the clip (or staple) dislodged completely. I just had a stomach ulcer clipped and have to go back for a follow-up endoscopy for that reason.
    – BillDOe
    Jan 12, 2017 at 19:56

1 Answer 1


If you are not pleased with what the doctor said or you do not trust him, obtain your medical documentation about your case and ask for the second opinion.

Another doctor, in order to be able to give you a proper advice, will need to know the exact type and size of the polyp, was it the only polyp, the first polyp, etc.

Here is an example of guidelines for the screening after a polyp removal:

Colorectal Cancer Screening and Surveillance (American Family Physician, 2015)

Patients with one or two tubular adenomas that are smaller than 10 mm should have a repeat colonoscopy in five to 10 years. Repeat colonoscopy at five years is recommended for patients with nondysplastic serrated polyps that are smaller than 10 mm. Patients with three to 10 adenomas found during a single colonoscopy, an adenoma or serrated polyp that is 10 mm or larger, an adenoma with villous features or high-grade dysplasia, a sessile serrated polyp with cytologic dysplasia, or a traditional serrated adenoma are at increased risk of developing advanced neoplasia during surveillance and should have a repeat colonoscopy in three years.

I don't want to give any suggestion or hint other than: you may want to ask for a second opinion.


When a doctor removes a small polyp from the colon, it is usually adenoma - this is a benign, noncancerous tumor that does not cause any harm. But if you leave such adenoma in the colon intact, it can often develop into a cancer.

Also, once one adenoma is found in your colon, you are at increased risk that another adenoma will appear later and if you give it enough time, it can develop into cancer. I don't know the exact statistics right now.

Stool tests for colorectal cancer are briefly explained on CDC.gov:

"FIT" test is basically just more specific test than it is the more known guiac fecal occult blood test (gFOBT).

The "FIT-DNA" test (also referred to as the stool DNA test) combines the FIT with a test that detects altered DNA in the stool.

  • (+1) and accepted as an answer with many thanks. I am opting to forego the proc and will use a FIT test ever 6 months to a year from now on. If I go to a less corporate-owned country I might get a procedure there after about 5 years but probably not. It's simply too invasive.
    – Ruminator
    Jan 17, 2017 at 15:03
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    @WoundedEgo, you should still consider colonoscopy at some time. FIT test detects only the presence blood in the stool. Not all colorectal cancers bleed.
    – Jan
    Jan 17, 2017 at 15:34
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    "FIT-DNA" can also detect cancer cells, yes, but "FIT" test only blood.
    – Jan
    Jan 18, 2017 at 11:58
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    No, this only detects blood. "Globulin" is a protein - in this case it means "hemoglobin" from red blood cells. Colorectal Cancer, Diverticulitis, Crohn's Disease, IBD...they often cause bleeding, so the test confirms blood, not DNA from cancerous cells. "FIT" test can detect only blood from the "lower gastrointestinal tract", (small and large intestine), so whenever you would have bleeding in this part, the test would be positive. "FIT-DNA" or whatever other names apply, detects both blood and DNA specific for colorectal cancer.
    – Jan
    Jan 18, 2017 at 13:48
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    I also added something at the bottom of my answer above.
    – Jan
    Jan 18, 2017 at 13:52

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