Seniors Would Benefit from Smarter Colorectal Screening

Adult colon cancer is a serious risk facing seniors in the United States, and colorectal screenings are recommended for seniors, beginning at about 50 years of age.  However, a new study finds that very often, colorectal screenings are done randomly based only on the age of the patient, and not on the specific benefits that they offer the patient.  Therefore, while some patients who would probably benefit from screenings may not be administered these tests at all, other persons who may not really benefit as much may be in line for a screening.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan and the Veterans Affairs Center for Clinical Management and Research, and focused on data involving close to 400,000 Veterans Administration enrollees from 2010.  Colorectal screenings typically involve a colonoscopy, fecal occult blood testing and sigmoidoscopy.  Screening is encouraged in the 50- to- 75 year age group, but very often, screening is based on age cutoffs. The researchers found that as a result, screening was underused in some categories of healthy, older people, and actually overused in healthy people who screening might not benefit.

According to the results of the study, a 75-year-old in poor health with a life expectancy of five years was actually much more likely to undergo a colorectal screening, compared to a 76-year-old in good health with a life expectancy of up to 15 years.  This was in spite of the fact that the 76-year-old is actually likely to benefit more from the colorectal screening.

It would be much more beneficial to senior patients if colorectal screening quality measures focused not just on the age of the patient, but also on his/her health status.

Senior care services can provide you a trusted companion, who can not only remind you about the medications you have to take and doctor’s appointments, but can actually accompany you to the doctor’s office, health checkups and on hospital visits.  Contact A Gentle Touch about it today.

Source: University of Michigan