As I approach the half-century mark in age, I am well aware of the recommendations for a colonoscopy screening made by most medical professionals. The upside is tremendous! Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. During colonoscopy, precancerous polyps can be removed and biopsies can be done on tissue samples. However, this procedure is not without risks as detailed by a study and recent article published in the Annals of Internal Medicine entitled, “Complications of Colonoscopy in an Integrated Health Care Delivery System.”
Researchers identified patients receiving colonoscopy and followed them for 30 days for evidence of hospitalization for procedure-related complications. The rate of complications following colonoscopy, even colonoscopy without biopsy, is higher than for other colorectal cancer screening tests, including flexible sigmoidoscopy. Delayed bleeding was not uncommon, suggesting that patients should be advised about their risk and screening centers should have follow-up procedures in place to monitor delayed complications.
Read a summary of the article here.
Read what the Centers for Disease Control has to say about the risks of colonoscopy here.