Wife 53 diagnosed with Sessile Serrated Polyp Syndrome. Initial colonoscopy at 50 led to removal of 3 flat SSPs and identification of 4th large one near cecum. Debated partial resection, but found gifted surgical specialist who successfully removed it via a hospital-based colonoscopy. We were relieved not to have to undergo the surgery and committed to annual colonoscopies. 6 month follow up after the large polyp was removed revealed another SSP (removed during procedure) and now a year later the routine follow-up colonoscopy revealed another relatively large one (removed during procedure).
Our gastroenterologist, keeps mentioning a partial (right side and traverse) colon resection as the best way to protect against colon cancer. SSPs develop on the right side. By removing that section of colon we eliminate chances he misses one (flat and hard to detect) or punctures colon during colonoscopy. He doesn't insist on it, but seems a little surprised we don't opt for it.
This is our reasoning and we'd welcome thoughts on it (pro or con):
1. As a general rule, we have a preference to avoiding an elective surgery and feel one should try to keep one’s body parts intact, whenever possible.
2. We have an active life, and having to spend the rest of it worrying whether a bathroom is nearby is a real concern. (Should the resection lead to 2 to 3 BMs/day). Also, I've read on LiveStrong that partial colon resection carries a 1% chance of death from surgery and a 50%+ chance of complications requiring additional surgery/treatment.
3. Annual colonoscopies, while not fun, are not something she looks upon with dread and trepidation.
4. From what we’ve read, even untreated, sessile serrated polyps (SSPs) only turn malignant 25% - 40% of the time.
5. I suspect she is getting this from my mother. It seems a predisposition to SSPs is highly hereditary and her father (81) doesn’t get them. Her mother (79) refuses to go for colonoscopies, which makes us suspect she’s loaded with these polyps and they haven’t turned malignant (yet). Which we are loosely interpreting to mean that her mother may have SSPs that aren’t the kind that progress to cancer.
6. She’ll be getting the colonoscopies annually, should they find one that has eluded them and is impossible to remove without surgery or if one should turn malignant, we can then have the surgery to have the colon resection. I have to believe we’d be extremely early in the cancer detection given the frequent screenings.
7. Every year that goes by, improved colonoscopy tools are developed, medicines are discovered, early detection tests are developed, etc. So, procrastination on surgery sometimes is the best approach because you may never need it.