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Colon cancer screening: At what age can you stop?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/colon-cancer-screening/AN01970
- With Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist
Michael F. Picco, M.D.read biographyclose window
Michael F. Picco, M.D.Michael F. Picco, M.D.
Dr. Michael Picco has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999. He is board certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology. Dr. Picco is an assistant professor of medicine at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, and a consultant in gastroenterology at Mayo Clinic in Florida.
He has authored numerous publications in the area of gastroenterology, including original research, editorials and textbook chapters. He works with a team of gastroenterologists that takes care of complex gastrointestinal conditions and has a particular interest in diarrheal illnesses and inflammatory bowel diseases (ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease). He is also active in medical education in training new gastroenterologist and internists.
"Mayo Clinic's website is an invaluable resource for patients and their families," Dr. Picco said. "Informed patients are better able to participate in their own health care. A patient's participation is vital to the treatment of his or her disease. I hope to assist in helping patients understand their digestive problems and current treatments that are offered. This will allow for better communication between patients, their physicians and other health care professionals."
Dr. Picco serves as a reviewer of new research for several medical journals in the area of gastroenterology and is an active member of the American Gastroenterological Association, American College of Gastroenterology and the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. He serves on numerous committees that address physician training, research and clinical practice in gastroenterology, both at Mayo Clinic and at the national level.
"Patients need to know about their disease, what to expect, the latest treatments and side effects so that they can make informed decisions about their health care. Gastrointestinal disease affects not only patients but also their families. My goal is to assure that our website provides accurate, reliable information and resources for patients. We must always provide the latest, most cutting-edge information to assist patients in dealing with their medical problems," Dr. Picco said.
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- Colon cancer screening: At what age can you stop?
Colon cancer screening: At what age can you stop?
I'm 76 years old and am wondering when it's no longer necessary to get colon cancer screening? Is there an upper age limit?
from Michael F. Picco, M.D.
People older than age 75 who have been getting regular colon cancer screening since age 50 and who have had consistently negative screenings — no polyps (adenomas) or colon cancer — need not continue getting routine screening. That's according to colon cancer screening guidelines issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). The upper age limit was set after studies determined that the net benefit of screening after age 75 was small. However, the USPSTF guidelines do recommend colon cancer surveillance for people over age 75 who have an increased risk of colon cancer, such as family history, a previously diagnosed colon cancer or adenomatous polyps.
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.
The USPSTF recommends that colon cancer screening be done using high-sensitivity fecal occult blood testing (FOBT), sigmoidoscopy with FOBT or colonoscopy.
Talk with your doctor about what colon cancer screening option is best for you. Together, you can decide based on your overall health when screening may no longer be of benefit.Next question
Splitting doses: A good strategy for colonoscopy preparation?
- U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for colorectal cancer: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2008;149:627.
- Zauber AG, et al. Evaluating test strategies for colorectal cancer screening: A decision analysis for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2008;149:659.
- Whitlock EP, et al. Screening for colorectal cancer: A targeted, updated systematic review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2008;149:638.
- Levin B, et al. Screening and surveillance for the early detection of colorectal cancer and adenomatous polyps, 2008: A joint guideline from the American Cancer Society, the U.S. Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer, and the American College of Radiology. A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2008;58:130.
- Rex DK, et al. American College of Gastroenterology guidelines for colorectal cancer screening 2008. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2009;104:1.