Colonoscopy payment help available to uninsured

Q: I’m 50 and do not have insurance so I cannot get a screening colonoscopy on schedule. If I had a polyp, how long would it take to turn into cancer? Do polyps always become cancerous? Adam G., Livonia

A: Polyps come in many different shapes, sizes and beahviors. Some take many years to progress, some do not progress at all and some progress very fast. Not all of them become cancerous. However, predicting the behavior of polyps is quite difficult so timely screenings is very important. ColonoscopyAssist is a great resource for uninsured people. They also offer grants for the financially distressed too. Call them at 847-986-8999 or go to for more information.

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Q: My doctor recently told me to avoid eating vegetables because they can cause digestive distress. Can someone really stay healthy without the nutrients and fiber they provide? Sharon C., Wyandotte

A: Vegetables are a very important part of diet, providing with fiber and essential nutrients. Unfortunately eating some of them raw may cause bloating and indigestion, especially cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, etc.). I suggest steaming them – it breaks down the cell wall of the vegetables and allows for easier digestion. Try eliminating only the vegetables that cause you problems to maintain a balanced diet.

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Q: My sister had symptoms of stomach upset, nausea and gurgling and her doctor gave her a breath test. It was an H. pylori infection. Is that contagious? Should family members get tested for it too? Melissa W., Southgate

A: Yes, H. pylori can be contagious and based on clinical studies, it is believed to be contagious through sharing of food and water with family members. We do not typically test family members unless, 1) the index patient has had recurrence, 2) the patient’s family members are having abdominal symptoms, or 3) family members are concerned and want to get tested.

Rana Sabbagh, M.D., is board-certified in internal medicine, gastroenterology and nutrition. She is the founder of GastroCenter of Michigan and Experior Weight Loss Clinic, 23500 Park St., Suite 2B in Dearborn. Do you have a health question for Dr. Sabbagh? Submit it by email to:

All information provided in Ask The Doctor is intended for your general knowledge. Consult with your personal doctor or pharmacist for any specific health or nutrition issues. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of information you have read in any publication.