Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: colonoscopy | colon | cancer | skip | colorectal

Can I Skip Colonoscopy?

Thursday, 12 Apr 2012 12:47 PM

3. Question: I’m a 75-year-old woman with no history of colorectal cancer. I have never had a colonoscopy because I fear the anesthesia. At my age, do you think I can get by without a colonoscopy? I have no intestinal troubles or other symptoms that could be colon related.

In 2008, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended that colorectal cancer screening begin at age 50 years and continue to age 75 years, and then be discontinued if there were consistent negative findings. However, a high number of cancers are being diagnosed in the mid-70s age-group and colonoscopy is being advised until the age of 80 years, especially to those who have never been screened before. The American Cancer Society and the American College of Gastroenterology do not specify an upper age limit beyond which colon cancer screening is no longer recommended.
Your healthcare provider will explain how you can prepare for the test that usually takes 30-45 minutes. You will probably be given a mild sedative, or if your doctor thinks so, the sedative may be combined with an intravenous pain medication to minimize any discomfort. The entire procedure will be explained to you so will know what to expect even after the procedure. The sedative may take time to wear off, so someone else must be present with you to take you home.


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After age 80 colonoscopies may be discontinued.
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