If older patients strongly prefer to undergo screening, they and their doctor could consider other screening methods that involve less risk, such as a test for blood in the stool, Sheffield said.
But Bernstein noted that a positive fecal blood test leads to a colonoscopy. "I think the best way is a colonoscopy," he said.
Another study in the same journal looked at the complications following a colonoscopy, and found that they happened more often when anesthesia was used.
Specifically, Dr. Gregory Cooper, from the University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, and colleagues looked at hospitalizations for spleen ruptures or trauma, colon perforations and pneumonia within 30 days of a colonoscopy with and without anesthesia.
"Although the absolute risk of complications is low, the use of anesthesia services for colonoscopy is associated with a somewhat higher frequency of complications, specifically, aspiration pneumonia," they concluded.
For more information on colon cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.
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