Preparing for your appointment

You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in digestive diseases (gastroenterologist).

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions, such as not eating solid food on the day before your appointment.
  • Write down your symptoms, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason why you scheduled the appointment.
  • Make a list of all your medications, vitamins and supplements.
  • Write down your key medical information, including other conditions.
  • Write down key personal information, including any recent changes or stressors in your life.
  • Ask a relative or friend to accompany you to help you remember what the doctor says.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
  • What treatments are available?
  • What are the chances these polyps are malignant?
  • Is it possible that I have a genetic condition leading to colon polyps?
  • What kind of follow-up testing do I need?
  • Should I remove or add any foods to my diet?
  • I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may leave time to go over points you want to spend more time on. You may be asked:

  • When did you first begin experiencing symptoms, and how severe are they?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • Have you or has anyone in your family had colon cancer or colon polyps?
  • Has anyone in your family had other cancers of the digestive tract, the uterus, ovaries or the bladder?
  • How much do you smoke and drink?
Aug. 18, 2017
References
  1. Macrae FA. Approach to the patient with colonic polyps. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 18, 2017.
  2. Colon polyps. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/colon-polyps. Accessed March 18, 2017.
  3. Colon polyps. American College of Gastroenterology. http://patients.gi.org/topics/colon-polyps/. Accessed March 18, 2017.
  4. Polyps of the colon and rectum. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. https://www.fascrs.org/patients/disease-condition/polyps-colon-and-rectum. Accessed March 18, 2017.
  5. Colorectal cancer: Screening. Rockville, Md.: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/RecommendationStatementFinal/colorectal-cancer-screening. Accessed April 5, 2017.
  6. Feldman M, et al. Colonic polyps and polyposis syndromes. In: Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 18, 2017.
  7. Niederhuber JE, et al., eds. Colorectal cancer. In: Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 18, 2017.
  8. Goldman L, et al., eds. Neoplasms of the small and large intestine. In: Goldman- Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 18, 2017.
  9. AskMayoExpert. Colorectal polyp surveillance. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
  10. Brown A. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 25, 2017.
  11. Rajan E (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 10, 2017.