Recent Blog Articles

Staying Healthy

Is there an age limit for a colonoscopy?

February 01, 2020

On call

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.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • 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
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.