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A thankyou to NormanH!


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Chancer, there's a big campaign on this in UK at the moment, which your sisters might well have already seen. I think the NHS is already very good on this, with the regular home testing kit for over-60s (and which we've found easy to use if a bit fiddly). But I saw the NHS has full page adverts in newspapers now telling everyone to go and speak to their doctor if they have noticed changes, and it's also an advert on Classic radio regularly at the moment too.

My SIL in her late 70s had amazing treatment after just a short while of discomfort, and collapsed in town. She was rushed in to her local hospital and operated on 2 days later after tests showed bowel cancer; she made a great recovery and was back to her daily swimming session following the op and a few months of chemo as though nothing had happened. So even if there is a serious problem, results can be excellent.

Anyway, good luck with your tests.

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The procedure I had was scheduled for 2 p.m. The previous day I had 10 Senna tablets (yes you did read that correctly!![+o(]) to be taken at 2p.m. one every few minutes.[blink] The gunky stuff to drink I think started at around 5 p.m. maybe I had the second dose next morning around 08.00 can't quite remember but I know that in my case there was no fear of an accident during the 30 mins drive to local hospital or on the way home. By the way one piece of good advice, use Vaseline to avoid any soreness.

I was fortunate that a good friend of mine had had the same procedure some months before, she told me that the worst part of it was the preparation and she was absolutely right.[:)]

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I have the consultation and blood test next monday and the procedure the Monday after.

Adult Pampers, that made me laugh!!

They made me wear them in the hospital where I was treated for Falciparum Malaria, it was a side effect of the medication, they may have looked daft but boy did I need them.

Its un idée  pas bête though and I prefer it to a towel, i would feel a right berk arriving in soiled clothes and even worse having to wear them home the next day.

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I) Costs: the hospital or clinique where you have the coloscopie done will probably charge you as well . Possibly for the use of the equipment and theatre, at least for the bed.

2) I am surprised that you have to take part of the medicine the morning of the procedure. Each time I have had this, and for each of the operations I have had the flushing out part was the evening before, beginning rather drastically, and tapering off as nothing remained in my system, followed by a self-administered enema late at night, and another enema (but no flushing) the next morning to be properly cleaned out.

Obviously different places have different systems, but check that part out, as the purge does have quite drastic effects.

Have a look at the booklet I linked to in an earlier post.

Being larger than corpulent I have some difficulty in 'getting round' to giving myself an enema.

On one occasion when I had to have a combined endoscopy and ultra sound I  asked the nurse on duty hat morning if she could  help me with it.

In front of the Doctor she said

"Of course, unless you would prefer to have a man put it up you"

When I  pointed out that that was a somewhat indiscreet question we all fell about laughing, and the patients in the waiting room were at the least surprised to see us go together to the toilets, her brandishing the large enema tube, and both of us with tears of laughter running down our cheeks.

My advice is to try to see the comic side in the slightly undignified bits of the whole thing...

I have to wear something like pampers since the last major operation left my bowels somewhat unpredictable

You can get Tena slips in pharmacies or I order from Monoprix or Géante Casino

I almost never need them  'in anger' but the psychological security they give is invaluable

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Yes my worry is that there will be a substantial charge for the bed over and above the forfait journalier, I do find it frustrating that i can never get an answer re costs and when they have made mistakes before they refuse to re-visit the dossier, once I got really badly stung and in the end just had to chalk it up to experience. It seems that everyone is either 100% covered or has a mutuelle and costs are never an issue or discussed, it shocks me to see just how many seemingly healthy people have free VSL or taxi transport to every consultation, they tell me i must be mad to use my own diesel.

Re the sense of humour I laughed out very loud at what you wrote, so the rumours are true then Norman [:-))]

All this talk of vaseline and enemas does raise one question though, i had assumed that you drink the Radflush, do I really need to give myself an enema? That would really be the test of a best friend n'est ce pas?

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The place I go to has a clear list of tariffs, even though most of the patients are covered as you say.

I can't find a way of copying them easily, but if you download this booklet they are on page 36

www.valdaurelle.fr/content/download/458/1814 -

Looks like it was 797€ in 2008 for 'ambulatoire'

Yours will be substantially less as you aren't having a major op.

The administration really should be able to provide this information in advance.

The 'purge' clears out the whole intestinal tract.

The idea of the enema is to clean out the last bit, he rectum, which is where any residue will have collected.

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There was no residue in mine, I can tell you!!   But maybe French grub sticks to the sides more... [:D] 

(There you are, Chancer.  As Norman says, keep a sense of humour!)

It sounds to be a nightmare for you, working out the possible cost of it all.  Hooray for the NHS here.

It would obviously be a lot cheaper if you COULD persuade somebody to transport you, and get you home the same day - but I suppose two x two-hour round trips in one day is a lot to ask anyone - unless your op is being done in a city where your friend could pleasantly kill time shopping, going to the cinema etc.


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Only just seen this thread.

OH was told he couldn't do his test by post (in France) due to his father having had bowel cancer twenty years previously.

He had a colonoscopy which was a real doddle!!

Yes, he had to drink 2 litres of stuff on two consecutive days but no, he didn't seem to have to run to the loo all the time.

He didn't complain anyway (not like him), except at having to drink all that liquid.

On the day I drove him to the clinic.

He was taken to a side room and they inserted a thingy (into his arm) so that they could give him anaesthetic when the time came.

Then they wheeled him away.

He was back NO MORE THAN 20 MINUTES LATER fully conscious and compos mentis.

They sure must have judged the dosage accurately.

He knew nothing of what had happened except that the surgeon/doctor/anaesthetist told him to count up to ten (he got to about 6)

Back in the side room/cubicle he was served with coffee and croissants which he devoured happily.

Straight after that the doctor said we were free to go. Only comment was that he expected OH to have improved on his French by the next visit in 5 years time.

I drove him home.

He was as normal as he ever will be.

ps There was a previous appointment at a separate consulting room, just to check that OH was healthy and fit enough for the anaesthetic.

pps The results were clear!


Money was just not mentioned even though we had been dreading a big bill.

We didn't have any Mutuelle at all!!!!

Good luck to you Chance.
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Thanks for all the messages, re the transport that was never a concern financially wise, I will almost certainly drive myself, I have been taken by ambulance to Amiens a few times and once I did have to pay 30% but it was in fact a real bargain, an ambulance on an emergency call out, two paramedics, treatment/stabilisation on the way, and they remained with me until I was taken care of and comfortable, a journey for them of 40 miles plus the return and it cost less than a local taxi to go a couple of miles. And the taxi drivers are miserable gits who wont even talk to me!

On that very occasion in the hospital reception while I was waiting for my then girlfriend to collect me (she was 2 hours late!) I acted as interpretor for a couple of Germans who had been involved in a road accident, they needed a taxi to the nearest hotel on a ZAC on the rocade, a journey en metropole of about 4 miles and it cost them more than I finally paid for my ambulance.

While I am at the clinic I will try and find out the exact cost especially for the overnight stay, for their part they will be concerned that I dont have a carte vitale and will they get paid so they will want to talk with me, I called in to L'assurance Maladie today to try and get an attestation des droits but "l'ordinateur dit Non!"

The system shows I have rights but wont allow them to issue an attestation, I asked her for a screen print which she told me was highly irregular, ah but so is my situation! said I which convinced her to ignore the rules and act on initiative possibly for the first time, so whilst I dont have an attestation I have something that will serve as one albeit highly irregular!

In the past with the hospitals when I have had the time to negotiate with them before hand i.e. not wheeled in by ambulance they have agreed to invoice me just the part that remains at my charge and to claim the 70% direct from CPAM, this saves a lot of paperwork (although they cannot comprehend that as an advantage!) but also me having to pay out the whole sum and wait for remboursement, hopefully I can do the same with the clinic.

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Thanks for the link Norman, in 2007 I was hospitalised several times for a series of eye operations, during one post op controle they realised that they had made a cods of the last operation (ablation de silicone) so they kept me in (I didnt even have a toothbrush) and re-operated straight away, this was the operation where the surgeon cocked up the dossier and ticked the wrong box and I had a real hefty bill whereas for the original  op done by my surgeon (where the dossier was completed correctly) I had nothing to pay other than the forfait journalier, the salope refused to put right her error refusing even to speak to me other than via someone else, the admin staff were all sypathetic and on my side but could do nothing.

 I filed an opposition but of course the dossier was lost and eventually under pressure of the reclamation system I gave up, which is really not like me and paid, the two nights cost me €400 which was 20% of the €1600 which corresponds exactly to that shown in your link.

At least I will have the right terms to use when I discuss it with them, the specialist was completely unaware of this charge he only knew of the forfait journalier. 

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[quote user="Cendrillon"]I don't know about Angela's experience but I certainly did not have to do the enema bit! Total clear-out was achieved by the tablets I took and the potion I had to drink.


Same here, Cendrillon; except that I had white powder to pour into a glass of water instead of your tablets.  Similar effect though!

Mmm, I like the idea of coffee and croissant afterwards, Polremy.  NHS, take note!


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Let's hope you have the same miraculous experience as Polremy's OH, Chancer.[:D]

As For Angela and Cendrillon

I think that French and English practice may be different in the purging department, to say nothing of differences between regions and specialists within France. Obviously we all know about our own experience, and  I see from the Winchester booklet I linked to that they don't mention an enema, and even say that the anaesthetic will only 'calm' the patient, so he/she can remain responsive...

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"and even say that the anaesthetic will only 'calm' the patient, so he/she can remain responsive..."

Yes indeedy!

I walked from the small ward to the room where they gave the sedative and did the procedure. Then once they had given the sedation I was able to watch everything i.e. view my "insides" on the screen[blink] though mostly I just shut my eyes and thought of England!

Angela, the NHS tea and biscuits were wonderful and they even offered second helpings.[:)]

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Just retured Norman and I am touched that you were thinking of me [:)]

The anaesthetist insisted in speaking in English and I insisted in speaking French whereas the communication would have been far better each using his native tongue but I think we both wanted the practice and were stubborn as each other! I told him that had it been a couple of years ago I would have been very happy, this is only the second time in close to 7 years that anyone has spoken English to me, when I go to La Defense in Paris its like being back in the UK ( but without all the foreigners [6]) seemingly some of the health professionals in cities like Amiens are also bi-lingual.

Anyway the anaesthetist actually gave me a pretty good idea of the costs, he reckoned they could be up to €600 plus the 2 consultations so far and the blood test and prescribed medication[:(]

I went to the secretariat of the clinic (a different one to today) where the operation will be done and did a pre-admission visit to sort things out re my lack of carte vitale, I wasnt surprised to hear that she could not tell me how much any of it would cost apart from the forfait journalier "je ne peux pas vous dire monsieur" but was quite relieved when she told me with 100% conviction (meaning she seemed very confident and competent, a rare thing around here) that it would be 100% prise en charge despite what I had read on the Ameli site, I think it is because the coloscopy is being done under general anaesthetic. I am going to see the ambulance company later on and perhaps the VSL transport will also be 100% which will make me feel like royalty [;-)]

So all in all I am quite happy as I had been concerned about not knowing what the cost would be, I still dont but at 100% prise en charge je m'en fiche [:)]

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When I had a prostate biopsy a few years ago, the urologist had put down 'ALD - prise en charge 100%' on my notes.  I have an ALD for my heart, so laughingly I asked him if he'd done the biopsy on the correct organ.  Turns out that as the biopsy was cancer related, it qualified in its own right.

As your procedure is related to co-rectal cancer, I suspect the same will apply.


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Good glad you are getting sorted out. I've had that too, the Dr etc speaking english and me speaking in french.

I used to say 'je m'en fiche' a lot and then one fine day, my eldest son whispered in my ear that in many circumstances it was rather rude. He suggested 'ca m'est egal' was fare more polite. Still,[6] je m'en fiche what I say most of the time[:D]

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[quote user="Sunday Driver"]

When I had a prostate biopsy a few years ago, the urologist had put down 'ALD - prise en charge 100%' on my notes.  I have an ALD for my heart, so laughingly I asked him if he'd done the biopsy on the correct organ.  Turns out that as the biopsy was cancer related, it qualified in its own right.

As your procedure is related to co-rectal cancer, I suspect the same will apply.



Technically it shouldn't do until they actually find a cancer.

If they do the GP then has to apply to add cancer to your protocol de soins, from which point it becomes covered at 100% if accepted (as it always is)

A few years ago things were much more lax and if you had 100% for one thing others were often done under it, but with the budget tightening this is no longer the case.

I suspect as usual that things differ according to regions ans CPAM as so often in France.

I hope that they make a mistake in your favour though :))

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Having had several colonoscopies and gastroscopies over the years, I can confirm that they are usually performed under sedation and often an amnesiac drug is also administered, so you don't remember much afterwards. Reasons being is that both require the patients conscious cooperation and for colonoscopies there is less risk of bowel perforation, if you are conscious sufficiently to say when it is uncomfortable! Also no point in adding the slight additional risk of a general anaesthetic if not necessary. If sedated you are not allowed to drive for at least 12 hours afterwards.

I say usually sedated, as both procedures can be safely done without sedation, but I would not recommend it!!

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I have now waded through the report of the Cours des Comptes who are looking at the cost of 100% re-imbursement

I found this:

Les programmes de dépistage organisé

de maladies aux conséquences

mortelles évitables

Les frais d’examens de dépistage

effectués dans le cadre des

programmes de dépistage organisé de

maladies aux conséquences

mortelles évitables figurant sur un

arrêté sont intégralement pris en

charge par l’assurance maladie.

Actuellement, il existe deux programmes

de dépistage organisé : le

dépistage du cancer du sein,

généralisé en 2004 et le dépistage du cancer

colorectal, généralisé en 2009. En

ce qui concerne le dépistage du cancer

colorectal, le test remis par le

médecin traitant ainsi que l’analyse du test

en laboratoire agréé sont pris en

charge à 100 % par l’assurance maladie.

En revanche, si une coloscopie est

prescrite, elle est prise en charge au

taux habituel : un montant de 18 €

reste à la charge de l’assuré.

The report which is essential reading for those interested in the way the wind is blowing in health care finance in France is at


My quotation is from page 296  (NO I didn't read all the rest [:D])

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Like you, Norman, none of my pre-cancer exams/scans/hospital stays/ambulance rides etc etc were 100% until they opened me up and found the thing, then after I'd done all the paperwork with my gp when I got back home, it was backdated and my mutuelle got all the costs back.  Let's hope as you say that it doesn't happen that way in this case.

Glad you're getting sorted, Chancer, that's the main thing.  The rest is only money.

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The money even though it could represent a couple of months income is as you say neither here nor there considering why I am doing this.

My médécin, the oncologist and the admission secretary were all convinced that it is 100% prise en charge but as the first two dont get their hands grubby with anything as menial as money I was quite prepared to think that they were wrong, it was the admissions secretary today that mekes me think it really will be, I asked her if she was really sure as it was contrary to what I had read on the Ameli site and she said "of course I am, it is me that sends out the bills to CPAM, 100's of them every month, have faith in me!".

She also confirmed that it would be exactly the same for a French national with a carte vitale, 100% prise en charge by the SECU.

It wont kill me if I do have to pay, my black humour is saying to me "yeah buty it might if you dont have to pay!" its just knowing how the French system deals with "irrégulières" like myself bills can arrive 2 years later no-one can tell you how much they are going to be or if you have had the last one.

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