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    How long does a biopsy for stomach tumors take to complete?

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Posted on Tue, 1 Aug 2017 in Digestion and Bowels
Question: My wife had a biopsy for stomach tumors two weeks ago. The results just came in and we were told by the hospital that it was marked alert to the doctor. We have not received a call back from the doctor and we are on pins and needles.

Does the work alert from a lab to the doctor mean something is not good or can that mean a routine alert that the report is in? The receptionist kind of just let us hanging where our imagination can take us to many different thoughts. XXXXXXX
doctor
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 31 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Time to be assertive.

Detailed Answer:
Hello XXXXXXX

The "alert" on the report may be routine for any pathology report on a tumor, to make sure that the doctor sees it. There can be atypical cells that do not indicate actual cancer but are still abnormal, and this will usually receive an "alert" as well.

So the marking of "alert" in itself does not mean that something is drastically wrong. However, reports can slip through the cracks because nursing staff or others don't get it to the doctor, or for other reasons. And because of this, I highly recommend being very proactive and assertive in pursuing this.

You have been more than patient to wait for 2 weeks.

So I strongly recommend that you call your doctors office again, right now if possible. Ask to speak with your wife's doctor's nurse and that it's urgent. They may have a policy that the nurse cannot discuss results over the phone, but when you talk with the nurse, let her know that it has been 2 weeks, that you know the result is done, and that you want to hear from the doctor today as he/she may be out tomorrow for the 4th of July holiday.

I hope this information helps.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 44 minutes later
Thank you for your answer! It helps until we actually hear from the doctor. In general if a lab finds cancer do they contact the doctor quicker than through an email two weeks later? At any rate you helped settle our nerves for a few moments at least! If we don't get an answer in a few minutes we will have to wait until after the fourth. XXXXXXX
doctor
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Thoughts on this.

Detailed Answer:
Different labs have varying protocols for when and if to ever contact the doctor (beyond just sending a written report when it is ready). At some places, a pathologist will pick up the phone and call the doctor directly to give him or her a heads up. And if the ordering doctor has a high suspicion for a rapidly growing aggressive cancer, they may ask their nurse to call the lab for quicker follow up or they may call the lab themselves.

Many of us will ask the patient to automatically schedule a follow up appointment in the office a certain number of days after a biopsy is done. This allows us to discuss the results of the biopsy when we have a high suspicion that the patient will need follow up care. Then we can discuss the results in person and the options for treatment and referral.

My guess is that the results of your wife's pathology report may not be extremely concerning, because otherwise the doctor's nurse would bring it to him and say "look at this". But it's important to call, and call often, (don't worry about being obnoxious here) because otherwise it can happen that the report might just be sitting in the doctor's in-box buried under messages, refill requests, labs, imaging reports, and consultation letters until he plows through all of that. But by calling, you will have alerted the nurse to pull up the report and get it to the doctor.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 1 hour later
Thank you again. It looks like we will have to wait until Wednesday but your reply's have made it more bearable! Thank you again and have a great 4th! XXXXXXX
doctor
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 25 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Your welcome -

Detailed Answer:
I'm so sorry you have to wait further! I know it is difficult, but try what you can to distract yourselves and keep physically/mentally busy until you can call your doctor's office again.

I hope your 4th goes by quickly without further distress and your doctor gets back with you soon.
Best regards,
Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh, MD





Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 3138 Questions

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