Question in regards to the develoment of cancer. Is it known

Patient: Question in regards to the development of cancer. Is it known how long it takes for a cancer to develop?. I had a abdominal ultrasound and abdominal MRI about (3) months ago the MRI showed a very small non enhancing liver cyst about 2 mm in size, the radiologist called the test unremarkable. I also have a spleen hemangioma that has been unchanged for about three years about 1 1/2 cm in size. Every 12 to 18 months I go for a full abdominal MRI for the spleen and I also get a endoscopy every 12 to 18 months for my reflux (NO BARRETTS). I had a colonscopy last month no polyps. My Gastro DR seems to give me alot of testing. When I tell other people that I get some many tests they say how come???. Is a MRI every year excessive
or would this help me catch any problems very early??? Or does it not matter? can a cancer grow out of no where to a stage 3 or 4 in less than a year. everything I read says cancer takes years to develope before symptoms appear. I am 40 male

Optional Information
Gender: Male
Age: 40
State/Country: CA
Already Tried: mri ultrasounds bloodwork colonscopy

Doctor: I agree with what you are saying. I think that an MRI every year excessive. Even a colonoscopy which is done to screen for cancer of the colon is done every ten years after the age of 50. An MRI of the abdomen IS NOT a recommended test to screen for cancer every year at all. There are only a few tests that are EFFECTIVE for screening of cancer and one of those tests is colonoscopy and this DOES NOT INCLUDE an MRI of the abdomen every year at all.

I do not think that testing so much is going to help you out at all. I personally think that it is a waste of your resources getting your MRI done every year and getting so much testing.


Patient: how about the endoscopy every 18 months I do have reflux the Dr says he wants to check to make sure no barretts develop… can a mri hurt me?? If a cancer was to develope like say in my pancreas would the mri help me catch it early???. or would the mri catch pre cancerous changes??? because cancer dosent just pop up.. isnt there a process of development…I don know I have had 6 ultrsounds 3 mri 5 egd and 2 colonscopys in the last 5 years…little ps my bloodwork has been the same for years except for my alt which goes up and down from 60 to 90 liver specialist in Mt sinai NYC said fatty liver even though no sign of that on any of the mri etc…

Doctor: Regarding endoscopy the recommendation is that if two biopsies done annually have turned out to be normal then it should be done every 3-5 years. Endoscopy for surveillance of barrets is a very controversial topic and there are no DEFINITIVE guidelines but this is what is usually followed. This recommendation only applies to if a person has a chronic reflux. MRI would not hurt you but it is also not recommended to catch pancreatic cancer early. MRI would not detect precancerous stage. In case of breast cancer which you mention, it can be detected at a precancerous stage but only through mammography which is recommended annually for ladies over the age of 35. I think that you are being over investigated and that is for sure.

I personally think that you are a pretty healthy person without an major health issues and should not be tested this much at all.


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