Topic: Breast Cancer and Colon Cancer Risks

Forum: "Middle Age" 40-60(ish) Years Old With Breast Cancer — Meet others in this age-range who share similar life issues.

Posted on: Apr 11, 2012 07:53PM

Posted on: Apr 11, 2012 07:53PM

paradiju wrote:

Does anyone know if ones risk of getting colon cancer are higher once you have had breast cancer?

I had a lumpectomy in July, then chemo and radiation. I am 61 in good shape -- run and work out everyday -- eat mostly vegetarian and do not smoke. Yet my doc wants me to have a colonoscopy even though i have no risk factors for Colon Cancer. I am not adverse to this particular procedure but basically try to avoid any unecessary invasive procedures and drugs.

I could not find anything in the research i did on this subject. 

paradiju Dx 6/9/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Nov 10, 2013 03:17AM grammaB wrote:

This is an interesting topic for me. I am 64 have had 3 previous colonoscopies, on the 5 year plan. In each polyps were found. Last one was in Feb of '12. I got my bc dx in 7-13. BMX 8-13-13. I hadn't heard of a connection of bc and colon cancer. Mine seems kind of backwards. Frack! Do I have to worry about that now???

BRCA 1- BRCA 2- Dx 7/8/2013, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/13/2013 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left
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Jan 2, 2014 09:03PM - edited Jan 2, 2014 09:06PM by elimar

Hello Ladies,  I had both BC and CRC.  The information I got was that my risk was slightly higher than a person who had not had BC before, but the two don't have a strong link at this point.  I don't think that BRCA plays any role for CRC either (as of what is currently known.)  

paradiju,  Many people over 50 just randomly start to grow polyps in their colons.  For the garden variety of CRC, like adenocarcinoma, it takes about 10 years for a cell to go through the mutations from simply being abnormal to being full blown CRC.  After 50, it IS wise to just let the c-scope take a look and if any polyps are in there, let them snip them right off before they reach the cancer stage.  The saying is "Not all polyps are cancer, but all [CRC] cancers begin as polyps."   Yes, the prep is not fun.  Yes, the endoscopy is invasive.  Well, please believe me that having CRC is a whole lot worse than all of that.  If you are lucky, nothing at all will be found and you are good for another 10 years AND have peace of mind.  BTW, after the c-scope, you would think your butt would feel violated but the big surprise is that you feel very normal afterward.  Just hungry from the fasting for the prep.  Secondly, if the invasiveness is just something you can't get over, then DO ask the doc for the (take-home) Fecal Occult Blood Test. 

vmarie,  If nothing at all was seen on your endoscopy, and you don't have family history of CRC, I do not know why you would be asked back any sooner than 10 years.  I have not heard anything about BC making people have to get colonoscopies at a more frequent interval.  IF you manage to grow even one polyp, they will ask you back in 5 years, but not if nothing at all was found.  Other than making a buck, I'd like to know why your doc made that call.

I have been through the wringer with BC.  Then, through an even worse ringer with CRC.   Since I may not check back on this thread, if there is something specific I can help anyone with, get in touch with a PM. 

Dx 6/24/2009, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 2, 2014 09:26PM melissadallas wrote:

There are a couple of genetic syndromes (besides BRCA) that raise risk of breast, colon & ovarian cancer, Lynch Syndrome being one. Both my dad's mom & sister had colon cancer & I had ovarian cancer. The geneticist tested me for CHEK2 & PTEN mutations before they checked me for BRCA/BART. This is why I tell people to go for genetic counseling rather than just letting their doc order a BRCA test.

I was negative for all but they think we well may have an unknown as yet mutation.

LCIS, extensive sclerosing adenosis, TAH/BSO & partial omentectomy for mucinous borderline ovarian tumor. Dx 5/20/2012, LCIS, Stage 0, 0/0 nodes
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Jan 2, 2014 10:13PM mizmarie wrote:

Hi Everyone,

I also have had both BC and CRC.  In fact, it was exactly 2 years ago today that I had emergency surgery to remove 18" of colon barely  3 weeks after my last chemo for BC.  The abdominal pain I had experienced off and on throughout chemo suddenly became unbearable - I went to the ER and a CT scan revealed a whopping 6 cm tumor that was almost complete obstructing my colon.  I had already had BRCA testing done, which was negative.  I also had genetic testing done on the colon tumor; again, no genetic abnormalities found.  I had oncotype testing done also, as the pathology of my tumor was on the bubble in terms of whether chemo would be beneficial.  All that to say that my MO said theremay be a link between BC and CRC; he didn't indicate which one leads to the other.  In my case, given the size of my colon tumor, it clearly was established long before the breast tumor came along.  I was 48 at time of dx, not old enough for routine screening.

I've since had two colonoscopies, and as others have said, after what we've been through with breast cancer, a colonoscopy is no big deal.  The prep is the worst part - I slept through the procedure itself and don't remember a thing.

Dx 8/4/2011, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 8/18/2011 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 8/18/2011 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 2/7/2012 Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph node removal; Lymph node removal (Left): Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary Radiation Therapy 3/24/2012 Breast
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Jan 30, 2014 04:16PM - edited Jan 30, 2014 04:18PM by sandilee

the first thing my onc had me do after our first consult was get a colonoscopy.  He said there is increased risk.  He had nothing to gain, and I have a lot of various cancers in my family, so I didn't argue.  Plus, a good friend's husband had passed on from colon cancer recently.  And this is a cancer that is easy to prevent at the polyp stage.  

  After BC, it's nice to hear, all clear!

Dx 11/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 1/10/2008 Aromasin (exemestane) Dx 6/2011, IDC, mets Radiation Therapy 6/30/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 7/15/2011 Faslodex (fulvestrant) Hormonal Therapy 4/10/2015 Femara (letrozole) Targeted Therapy 4/20/2015 Ibrance (palbociclib) Chemotherapy 8/4/2015 Xeloda (capecitabine) Hormonal Therapy 3/11/2016 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Chemotherapy 10/13/2016 Doxil (doxorubicin) Chemotherapy 4/4/2018 Navelbine (vinorelbine) Hormonal Therapy 6/6/2018 Faslodex (fulvestrant) Targeted Therapy 6/6/2018 Verzenio Chemotherapy 4/23/2019 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Gemzar (gemcitabine)
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Feb 5, 2014 03:52PM lala1 wrote:

I just had a colonoscopy today (easy, peasy with a lovely nap!) and was told all clear, no polyps but because of my BC history I must return every 5 years due to slight increased risk.

Mentor smooth round high profile memory gel implants 600cc (Left); Allergan 10 Moderate Profile 120cc (Right) ; Oncotype 15 Dx 11/27/2012, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/13/2012 Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Left) Hormonal Therapy 2/1/2013 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 3/26/2013 Reconstruction (Left): Silicone implant Surgery 6/25/2014 Reconstruction (Left): Nipple reconstruction Surgery 1/20/2015
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Feb 21, 2014 03:56PM - edited Mar 11, 2014 05:45AM by LuvSnow

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Sep 24, 2014 08:55PM hopeful82014 wrote:

I had my first colonoscopy 4 years ago - no family history, no inkling of risk. I had a large polyp of a type that is poorly understood but known to become cancerous. Due to its size, I was told to return in 3 years, which I did. At that point I had 3 more large polyps of the same type. 

Had I waited for symptoms, family history, etc., I'd still be waiting and probably be facing something worse than a colonoscopy down the road. 

I dreaded the first one for so many reasons but found it all much easier to take than expect. The 2nd one was even easier. I wouldn't hesitate a moment to schedule the next one. The sneaky thing about colon cancer is that you just don't feel a THING until it's cancerous rather than per-cancerous. The really good thing about it is that you CAN have any polyps removed so easily with such minimal risk that it's highly preventable. Even better, under the ACA it's now required to be covered by insurers. 

Everyone's free to make their own decision, of course, but I really don't think there's marketing hype involved.

Dx IDC, HER2-
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Oct 3, 2014 10:45AM glennie19 wrote:

the clean-out is the worst part of it.   I had one 5 years ago and the procedure itself was easy.  I need to check and see when I should get a repeat.

Fibromyalgia and Truncal Lymphedema,,, some of the fun things I live with. Total hysterecomy 9/29/14 Prophy MX Righty 11/30/17 Dx 6/27/2013, Paget's, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/8/2013 Lymph node removal; Lymph node removal (Left): Sentinel; Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Left) Dx DCIS
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Dec 9, 2014 02:56AM april25 wrote:

My aunt had breast cancer in her 60s, then colon cancer in her 70's. No idea if it's related, but it could have been!

Because she had colon cancer and my dad (her brother) had colon cancer in his 70's, I've had two colonoscopies (I'm 58), that was pre-bc dx.

Colonoscopy is a breeze. The prep means you can't eat and have to drink this stuff that clears you out so they actually see your colon... It's not fun, but not hard to do. Colonoscopy itself was easy. You go like down on the table, fall asleep, wake up feeling a bit woozy from the anesthesia (twilight, not full, usually). My butt felt fine. In fact, it felt better than the night before when all the toilet visits was making it a bit sore! Yeah, TMI!!!

But really, I'd encourage people to just do it. They can snip off polyps and then test them easily. Nothing was painful or hurt at all. It was quick, although maybe you'd need a day off just to get everything done.

Dx 11/19/2014, IDC, Right, 3cm, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+, Targeted Therapy 12/15/2014 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 12/15/2014 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Targeted Therapy 12/16/2014 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Surgery 5/8/2015 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 6/9/2015 Whole breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 9/3/2015 Arimidex (anastrozole)

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