Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, so you may be reading and hearing a lot about the importance of screening. But you may not hear much about when colon cancer screening should stop.
Did you know the magic number is 75?
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reviewed years of research and recommended against routine screening for colorectal cancer in adults over age 75 and against any screening in those over 85.
Why? Colon cancer develops slowly, and in the many years it takes for small polyps to evolve into cancer, if they do, most old people will have died of other diseases. And the older you are the greater the risks of both the prep and the procedure.
Let's be clear: Screening those over age 50, the group most at risk, makes complete sense. But while colonoscopy is underused by the poor and uninsured, it's overused by the elderly.