Is it Necessary to Have a Colonoscopy after Age 70?

Colonoscopy refers to a medical examination used mainly for detecting abnormalities or changes in the colon i.e. large intestine and rectum. While performing the procedure of colonoscopy, doctors/pathologists insert a long and a flexible tube referred as colonoscope within the patient’s rectum.

In addition, the device has a small video camera at its tube’s tip to allow doctors to view the inner contents of the patient’s colon. In case of an emergency, pathologists have to remove polyps and other similar abnormal tissues via the scope by performing colonoscopy, while collect biopsies or tissue samples during the colonoscopy procedure.

Purposes of Colonoscopy

Investigation of Intestinal Signs and Symptoms: Colonoscopy is helpful to identify the exact reason behind causing other problems, such as rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea and/or chronic constipation, along with other major intestinal problems.

Screening Test for Colon Cancer: If you are more than 50 years and remain at average risk related to colon cancer, your doctor may suggest for colonoscopy every 10 years period.

Search for Polyps: Doctors may suggest for follow-up type of colonoscopy to search and remove additional polyps to reduce the risk related to colon cancer.

Is it Necessary to Have a Colonoscopy after Age 70?

Is it Necessary to Have a Colonoscopy after Age 70?

Evidences on Colonoscopy on Patients of More than 70 Years Age:

Most of the colonoscopies performed on individuals of more than 70 years age are unlikely to give benefits, as revealed in the latest study. According to experts, such diagnose procedures expose patients to huge risks related to colonoscopy without any evidence that it intends to benefit them.

For instance, doctors have considered colon cancer related screening test as inappropriate in case patients undergo with it more often than the exact number of times recommended by their doctors or performed on individuals exceeding 70 or 75 years of age.

In another study, about 23.4 percent of various colonoscopy procedures conducted on patients on one year for old adults have proved to be inappropriate. Further screening guidelines have revealed that about 30 percent or higher numbers of colonoscopies performed by doctors on adult people have proved to be inappropriate. According to the United States Preventive Services Task Force, people unaware of high risks related to colon cancer should start with regular screening of the respective problem at the age of 50 years.

In addition, individuals opt to undergo with colonoscopies procedures, including the related screening options, such as blood test to detect fecal occult and flexible sigmoidoscopy, should undergo with the diagnose procedure for every 10 years period. However, they do not have to go with any such test after they cross 70 or 75 years age.

Colon cancer usually progress at a slow pace, because of which unlike young patients, early detection of the problem is relatively less likely to give benefits to old age adults. Simultaneously, colonoscopy procedure incorporates many risks and complications, like intestinal perforation, incontinence or bleeding. Inappropriate colonoscopies fail to give benefits to patients.

Moreover, such procedures consume resources, which may be used in an effective way for individuals who literally require colonoscopies, but unable to get them. Since patients themselves have to take the final decision to undergo with colonoscopy procedure; hence, doctors recommend that old patients should stay fully aware of essential screening guidelines and risks related to colonoscopies.

One of the best ways to create awareness is to set up improved communication of patients with doctors or organize educational programs at the public level to rectify misconceptions. In case old patients strongly prefer to undergo with colonoscopy screening test, doctors should consider for alternative screening methods, which involve less risks, like test to detect the presence of occult blood in one’s stool and similar others.

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