Interview 40

Age at interview: 71
Brief Outline: She was invited to be screened for bowel cancer. A Faecal Occult Blood (FOB) test in 2003 was abnormal so she repeated the test. This was also abnormal. She had a colonoscopy, during which polyps were removed.
Background: A white English woman, a retired auxiliary nurse, married, with 3 children.

More about me...

She was invited to be screened for bowel cancer in 2002 and 2003. The Faecal Occult Blood (FOB) test in 2003 was abnormal so she repeated the test. This was also found to be abnormal. She had a colonoscopy, during which three large polyps were removed. These were found to be benign (not cancerous). She had a repeat colonoscopy in 2004 just to check that all was well. She will have another colonoscopy in 2009. 

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The nurse gave her the opportunity of talking to someone who had had a colonoscopy but she talked...

Going back, after you had the abnormal result, I think you said you then had to go to the hospital to discuss it with one of the nurses.

Mm. Yes.

Can you remember what happened during that discussion with the nurse?

Um. Well I had a friend go with me because I was quite upset and she drove me because it was over at [the local] hospital, and as a matter of fact I knew the nurse who was sorting out the screening, so she was quite nice to me, and she was actually with me when I had the colonoscopy. It was her that rang me to do this interview, so the fact that I'd worked with her, you know.

Yes, she goes through with you all the advantages and possible problems of having a colonoscopy?


Did she explain any risks there might be, for example?

I think she explained the whole procedure, yes. And said that you know, she could put me in touch with other people that had had it done and had got cancer, but it had helped them because they'd caught it early. So yes, yes, she was good that way.

I didn't know she did that. Did you ever get in touch with anybody else at all then?

No, no, I didn't, no.

But she gave you that option?

She did say that there was someone who would speak to me, if I wanted to speak to them.

Yes, and I think that at that stage they give you another booklet about the colonoscopy?

Yes, yes they did.

Was that a good booklet?

Well it just explained the procedure, what would happen, yes, yes, you got a fair idea of what to expect, yeah. It had diagrams in as well I think.

Is that about the right amount of information do you think?

I think so, because you don't want to get bogged down do you, with too much info.

Did you feel you had to look anywhere else for any other information?

No. No I didn't. I just spoke to a couple of nurses that I knew and they tried to reassure me that, 'Oh you'll be alright' you know. It is, you know, not a nice procedure.

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He felt a great sense of relief when the nurse told him that he had only benign polyps and that...

I am a bit of a pessimist, you know, hypochondriac you could say in fact. Yes I did find it very upsetting. I think it's the waiting about, like after I'd had the colonoscopy you've got to wait two weeks for the results, and I can remember going to the hospital and the nurse coming in and saying I'll be with you in five minutes, and you think, you know, 'Oh my god what's she going to say?' And then the relief when I found out it was just polyps. But then you realise that if those polyps had been left, they could have turned cancerous you see, so, it probably saved my life. Well, I think it had you know. Because they were quite big polyps and I understand that polyps can turn cancerous, so I would say that it had saved my life, yes.

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