Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Indications for Colonoscopy and Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

According to the STOP Colon/Rectal Cancer Foundation:

• Beginning at age 50, you should have a screening colonoscopy every 10 years. If you are completely asymptomatic (without any symptoms) and you have no history of colorectal disease, you still need to be screened.

• Beginning at age 40 or earlier, you should have a colonoscopy if you have a personal or family history of benign colorectal polyps, colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, breast cancer, ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease.

According to the 2007 Medicare guidelines for colorectal cancer screening:

• A colonoscopy is recommended once beginning at age 50, then once every 10 years.

• For a patient with high risk factors (defined as: having a sibling, parent, or child with an adenomatous polyp or colon cancer; a family history of adenomatous polyposis or hereditary colorectal cancer; or a personal history of adenomatous polyps, colorectal cancer, or Inflammatory Bowel Disease), a colonoscopy is recommended every 2 years (without regard to age).

• A flexible sigmoidoscopy is recommended once beginning at age 50, then once every 4 years, for patients with normal risk factors; and can be done in lieu of screening colonoscopy. For patients with high risk factors (above), a screening colonoscopy should be performed.

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