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Colon Cancer Tests after 75 May Benefit Some

Current guidelines suggest halting colon-cancer screening at age 75 for people who have been screened regularly. But a new study finds that it may be worthwhile, even as late as 86, for those who have never been tested before. The study was based on a computer model. It looked at risks and benefits of screening for a simulated group of people. The model projected what would happen if they were screened for colon cancer for the first time at different ages, from 76 to 90. Researchers concluded that screening would be worthwhile and cost-effective up to age 83 for colonoscopy, 84 for sigmoidoscopy and 86 for fecal occult blood tests. These conclusions apply to healthy seniors. Those with moderate or severe health conditions would benefit only into their late 70s or early 80s. The gains of life from screening would be small, however.

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