With March being Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, you may be hearing a lot about the importance of screening, especially for those over age 50. But is there a time when colon cancer screening should stop?
That answer is yes, according to the United States Preventive Services Task Force; they recommended against routine screening for colorectal cancer in adults over age 75 and against any screening in those over 85 as far back as 2008. But older patients continue to be screened at alarming rates, even while benefits diminish and risks increase.
While medical guidelines call for a repeat test 10 years after the first negative colonoscopy, studies have shown that nearly half of patients with negative colonoscopies had another screening in less than seven years, often within three or five. About a quarter took place without any clear medical indication.
Colon cancer develops slowly, and, as difficult as it is to acknowledge, most elderly patients will have died of other diseases in the many years it takes for small polyps to evolve into cancer. Meanwhile, unnecessary screenings and surgeries can cause extreme pain for patients with no real benefit. Read the full details here:
Too Many Colonoscopies in the Elderly
Many patients are injured or suffer wrongful death, due to unnecessary medical procedures. Colonoscopies, while providing useful information about cancer, are not without their risks, so indications for the study must be apparent before a colonoscopy is performed.
If you or a loved one have been an uninformed patient or experienced mistakes in your medical treatment, please call to investigate your matter fully. Crandall & Pera Law is available to help answer your questions and guide you in determining your next steps.