How often should you have a colonoscopy after age 70?

This question was asked in Scottsdale, Arizona on 01/17/2012.
How often should you have a colonoscopy after age 70 or 75?

Doctors Answers (2)

Shahram Javaheri, M.D.
Answered on: 1/21/2012

Great question. There is great debate among physicians as to when to stop colorectal cancer screening. This would depend on the patient's overall state of health and their risk factors for cancer (family history, prior colon cancer or adenomatous colon polyps). American Cancer Society guidelines recommend a colonoscopy every 10 years starting at age 50 in patients with no family history of colon cancer and no history of polyps. Most patients have their last colonoscopy by the age of 75 (if in overall good health). Although some patients continue having colonoscopies well into their 80's, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines have set an upper age limit of 75 in patients with no major risk factors such as family history and personal history of colon cancer and polyps. This is based on studies which have shown that the net benefit of cancer prevention is small after the age of 75. Always talk with your doctor to determine when to stop colorectal cancer screening.

David Myles Nolan
Answered on: 1/18/2012

The answer depends on the individual.? A patient who has no polyps and is in generally good health would still be 10 years after 70 (so 80 would be the next one).? If you have polyps you may need it sooner.? 5 years if 1-2 polyps, 3 or sooner years if more than 3 polyps removed on the last one.