As per CDC guidelines, colonoscopy is recommended as a preventative diagnostic procedure for colorectal cancer starting age 50 until 75.
Colonoscopy is an invasive procedure: A flexible tube is inserted into one’s intestines via the anus, and pictures taken inside (like that of a camera.)
However, this procedure needs very clean intestines or the pictures will come out false positive.
Can you picture yourself getting one of these in your rectum?
Colonoscopy should be ordered on a case to case basis, IMHO.
Only for those with high risk behaviors and history of cancers.
When I was still working as a consultant Adult NP in several nursing homes, I have noted a gastroenterologist who ordered colonoscopy for every patient he saw. These patients are over 75 years old, some are debilitated and too sickly to even go to the bathroom. Some are blind, bedridden and catatonic already.
By sheer common sense alone, they do not qualify anymore.
But this GI MD was assuming, relentless and thought he can intimidate me.
He always come in and behave like a Mafia. His condescending attitude was too obvious, but he cannot put me down because “I was the “health care insurance” of these patients.. aka the “gatekeeper”.
I had success in talking to the families to opt out colonoscopy for their loved ones. Just by explaining and educating them the procedure, would let them decline this unnecessary procedure for senior citizens who are too demented to follow the heavy and specific preparation . Do you have to force them to drink that one gallon Golytely ? How will you do it? by inserting an NGT or pushing it like in a syringe? For what purpose? To look for carcinoma that they won’t even operate due to age and ill health. Think about it.
This specific Italian doctor even threatened my life.. and warned to report me to my manager.. I mentioned, “my company is very grateful for what I am doing. I do not get a bonus for discontinuing your order, but I feel good that these patients do not undergo unnecessary burden to their health. These 80-year old patients cannot tackle procedures like that anymore.” and most families will agree with me. I even challenged that MD to report me to President Obama. He was livid!
I had 2 patients in a different nursing home who had colonoscopy, who were not so lucky, they died on the operating table. I had to report that as a form of negligence, and too often happened in elderly population. It was an incidental report that no one wants to uncover, but I did.
One friend’s father went for a colonoscopy, he came out with a colostomy.