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How long do biopsies take?

8 Jul 2019 13:47

Hello all, 

I had a colonoscopy 3 weeks ago, and although there was some redness/inflammation, nobody seemed very concerned that it was serious.  They took some standard biopsies, and I haven't yet heard back.  When does it get to the point that I should chase it? 

I had the colonoscopy because I had experienced rapid weight loss, changes in bowel habit, and bleeding/mucus in the stool.  Unfortunately, this is an ongoing problem, and although the weight loss seems to have slowed, the mucus/blood appears to be getting worse.  To be rather blunt, I am regularly experiencing bloody farts.  Obviously this is causing a lot of stress, but until the biopsy results come in, I don't feel it's worth going back to my GP.  

I'm aware there's a wide variety of reasons this could be happening, but I'm fairly certain it's not normal to be passing blood for going on 7 weeks, and I'd just like to understand what's happening, because once that's ascertained, I can work on a plan to deal with it all.  

Many Thanks,


How long do biopsies take?

10 Jul 2019 19:46 in response to QueenLizard

Hi Liz, 

Sorry to hear that you're still dealing with this health issue whilst waiting for your test results. It's impossible for us to say how long it may take for your results as there are so many carying factors. 

If you don't feel that making an appointment to see your GP is appropraite at the moment then maybe give them a call to see if they are able to tell you when the results will be available. Or alternatively give the hospital a call. 

I hope that you hear some news soon. 

Best wishes, 
Cancer Chat moderator


How long do biopsies take?

11 Jul 2019 20:10 in response to QueenLizard

Hi Liz,

My name is Richard and I happened to have worked for a few years as an Endoscopy Nurse. 

Inflammation of the bowel can be caused by inflammatory bowel diseases (crohns disease and ulcerative colitis) and I have attached a link below to some NHS information about these. They can occur at any age.

I'm really sorry to hear that your symptoms are worsening and wonder whether it might me worth contacting your GP or indeed the Gastroenterologist you were referred to for your colonoscopy. Sometimes severe symptoms are treated with a steroids to help your bowel heal.

Don't be worried about calling and chasing your results, The NHS is a busy, busy place and with the best will in the world sometimes things get forgotten - opening that envelope of lab results, signing off that letter you dictated weeks ago - meaning it doesn't get sent, I'm sure you get where I'm going.

I imagine that the symptoms you are having must be having a massive impact on your life at the moment. You may be able to find support at Crohn's and Colitis UK, as sufferers can develop these issues too.

You can probably find many online forums that may be able to give advice on dealing with the symptoms you're experiencing

Best wishes,    

How long do biopsies take?

15 Jul 2019 13:12 in response to Moderator Jenn

Hi Jenn,

Thanks for the reply, I completely understand that there's factors that affect the waiting time, it's just frustrating and a little scary at my end.  I phoned the hospital and got told that results can take 4-6 weeks to get back, which is contrary to what I was told in person, but at least it's lessened my fear of being lost in the system.  



How long do biopsies take?

15 Jul 2019 13:17 in response to Rich03

Hi Richard,

Thank you for the links, a lot of the symptoms match up, I just worry about not being taken seriously because I'm only 25, and a few of the healthcare professionals I've spoken to have been somewhat dismissive that it could be anything.  

I have phoned the hospital since, and apparently there was some miscommunication somewhere, as I was told by the recovery nurse that my biopsy result would be in 2-3 weeks, but on the phone they explained it's more like 4-6 weeks.  That has allayed the fear that my results are lost in the system so to speak, but also means that I have to continue with the symptoms worsening for another few weeks.  

Kind Regards,


How long do biopsies take?

15 Jul 2019 19:54 in response to QueenLizard

Hi Liz,

I’m glad you’ve managed to get some answers as to how long you’ve got to wait for your results. 

A couple of things to try and reassure you:

1) If your team thought you had cancer they probably would have told you on the day. Although we take samples for confirmation and a specific diagnosis, it’s generally easy to identify just by looking (I’m familiar with the practice in a few endoscopy units and it’s the same).

2) If your team suspected a cancer, I would expect the biopsies to come back much quicker than 4-6 weeks.

If your symptoms are still bothering you, I’d keep trying your GP,l. If you’re not happy with how they deal with you you can ask for a second opinion or contact the patient advice and liaison service.” (PALS). 

Best Wishes