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Colonoscopy benefits after age 75 questioned (2017-02-17)

Colonoscopies may not provide much cancer prevention benefit after age 75, according to a new study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers.

The study was published online September 27, 2016 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Lead author Xabier Garcia-Albeniz, research associate in the Department of Epidemiology and colleagues reviewed data on more than 1.3 million Medicare patients aged 70 to 79.

They found a slight reduction in colon cancer risk over eight years in those who had a colonoscopy–from just under 3% to a little more than 2% in those younger than 75, but they found it had little or no effect on cancer risk in patients over 75.
The risk for adverse events was low but greater among older persons.

But cancer experts caution that age shouldn’t be only criterion for colon cancer screening. Robert Smith of the American Cancer Society said the overall health and life expectancy of the patient should also be considered, the article stated.

For more information
Annals of Internal Medicine
Effectiveness of Screening Colonoscopy to Prevent Colorectal Cancer Among Medicare Beneficiaries Aged 70 to 79 Years: A Prospective Observational Study