July 25, 2014
Closeup portrait of a happy elderly man with young woman assisting
Wellness Tip

Colonoscopy After 75

by Berkeley Wellness  |  

Older people should stop having unnecessary screening colonoscopies.

Current guidelines say that most people ages 76 to 85 can stop being screened for colorectal cancer, and that those over 85 should stop. Regardless of age, people who have always had normal results and have no symptoms can wait 10 years between screening colonoscopies.

Yet a recent study of Medicare patients in Texas, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that 23 percent of people over 70 had potentially inappropriate colonoscopies, based on their age or past screening history. The rate rose to 39 percent in those ages 76 to 85.

With increasing age, the benefits of screening decline, while the risks from the procedure increase.