Is there an age limit for a colonoscopy?

On call

Published: February, 2020

Q. I'm 80 and no longer do colon cancer screening. However, I recently noticed some bleeding from my rectum. Does that change my need for a colonoscopy?

A. Screening for a disease means the person has no symptoms. Since you now have rectal bleeding, a colonoscopy would be considered not a screening test, but a diagnostic test. Whether you have it now or wait to see if more bleeding occurs depends upon many factors. The most important question is whether anything found on the colonoscopy will lead to treatment that improves your quality of life.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise

New subscriptions to Harvard Health Online are temporarily unavailable. Click the button below to learn about our other subscription offers.

Learn More »