Do You Need that Test? Wise Choices from Gastroenterologists

How soon should average risk people get another colorectal cancer screening after they have a normal colonoscopy?

No sooner than 10 years, the American Gastroenterological Association recommends as part of the Choosing Wisely campaign.

The AGA’s list of Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question includes:

  1. Use the lowest possible effective dose of acid reducing medicines to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  2. After a negative, quality colonoscopy, don’t repeat colorectal cancer screening by any method for 10 years.
  3. After removing 1 or 2 small (less than 1 centimeter) adenomatous polyps without signs of cellular change (dysplasia), don’t repeat the colonoscopy for at least 5 years.
  4. After two endoscopies without dysplasia, people with Barrett’s esophagus shouldn’t have another upper endoscopy for at least 3 years.
  5. Patients with abdominal pain shouldn’t have a repeat CT scan unless there are major changes in symptoms or clinical findings.

AGA’s list is based on current published recommendations for the time between colonoscopy and endoscopy in people with low risks for cancer.

The Choosing Wisely campaign wants doctors and patients to talk together about tests and treatments that are supported by evidence, don’t duplicate other tests or procedures, are free from harm, and are truly necessary.

Ask your doctor, “Do I really need this test?” and “Do I need it now?”


  1. says

    Another important question, as per the AGA website, is what is your doctor’s ADR (adenoma detection rate). It can vary ten fold even within a single group of gastroenterologists and the resultant protective benefit from subsequent colon cancer varies twenty-fold. This is undoubtedly the most important question to ask your gastroenterologist.

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