Colonoscopy is an effective tool for screening for colorectal cancer in
adults over 75, and the rates of complications are similar to those for
people under 65. In general, colonoscopy is recommended in adults with
a life expectancy of five years or more.
Studies have found that screening colonoscopy in the very elderly (over
80) results in only 15% of the expected gain in life expectancy in younger
patients, and in this population should only be performed with careful
consideration to risks and benefits for that particular patient. Expert
recommendation is to evaluate life expectancy, and only screen those with
5 or more years of life expectancy.