Colonoscopy in very elderly patients (over 80 years of age) carries a greater risk of complications, adverse events and morbidity than in younger patients, and is associated with lower completion rates and higher chance of poor bowel preparation.
For those aged 70 to 74 who had colonoscopies , the eight-year risk of colorectal cancer was 2.2%; in those who had no colonoscopy , the rate was 2.6%. For those aged 75 to 79 who had colonoscopies , the eight-year risk of colorectal cancer was 2.8%, and about 3% in those who did not have colonoscopy .
1. You are age 75 or older . The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) has made the recommendation that colonoscopies are no longer the best idea for people over the age of 85 . For people 75- 85 years old , the USPSTF recommends that colonoscopies be ordered on a case by case basis.
However, the USPSTF guidelines do recommend colon cancer surveillance for people older than age 75 who have an increased risk of colon cancer, such as family history, a previously diagnosed colon cancer or adenomatous polyps.
The guidelines: recommend screening for colorectal cancer using fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy in adults, beginning at age 50 years and continuing until age 75 . recommend against routine screening for colorectal cancer in adults age 76 to 85 years.
While very rare, deaths have been reported following colonoscopies , primarily in people who had intestinal perforations occur during the test. Choosing the outpatient facility where you have the procedure may impact your risk. One study showed a marked difference in complications, and quality of care, among facilities.
The USPSTF says screening colonoscopies should be performed on a case-by-case basis for people between the ages of 76 and 85, and it recommends no screening for people over age 85. The benefit of early cancer detection in very old people is offset by the risk of complications.
The test can pose risks. Colonoscopy is a safe procedure. But occasionally it can cause heavy bleeding , tears in the colon, inflammation or infection of pouches in the colon known as diverticulitis, severe abdominal pain, and problems in people with heart or blood- vessel disease.
Colorectal Cancer : Symptoms and Signs A change in bowel habits. Diarrhea , constipation , or feeling that the bowel does not empty completely. Bright red or very dark blood in the stool. Stools that look narrower or thinner than normal. Discomfort in the abdomen, including frequent gas pains, bloating , fullness, and cramps . Weight loss with no known explanation.
fatty foods, such as fried foods. red meat , such as beef and pork. processed meat, such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and lunch meats.
If the colonoscopy finds one or two small polyps (5 mm in diameter or smaller), you are considered at relatively low risk. Most people will not have to return for a follow-up colonoscopy for at least five years, and possibly longer.
For women with no history of cancer, U.S. screening guidelines recommend that all women start receiving mammograms when they turn 40 or 50 and to continue getting one every 1 or 2 years . This routine continues until they turn about 75 years of age or if, for whatever reason, they have limited life expectancy.
Colonoscopy is one method of screening for colorectal cancer. Other methods are also effective and available. Alternatives to colonoscopy include sigmoidoscopy, which is a less invasive form of colonoscopy , and noninvasive methods, such as stool sample testing.
Most people should get a colonoscopy at least once every 10 years after they turn 50. You may need to get one every 5 years after you turn 60 if your risk of cancer increases. Once you turn 75 (or 80, in some cases), a doctor may recommend that you no longer get colonoscopies.
Women between the ages of 50-74 should have a mammogram each year, and Medicare covers mammograms at no cost if your doctor accepts assignment. Talk to your doctor about the benefits of getting your yearly mammogram , and to schedule your next screening.