Neoplastic polyps either are already malignant or have the potential to become cancerous over time. When a non-malignant neoplastic polyp is discovered and removed during colonoscopy, a follow-up colonoscopy is scheduled to watch for additional polyps. Current [guidelines](http://www.guideline.gov/summary/summary.aspx?ss=15&doc_id=3686&nbr=2912&string=)
call for follow-up colonoscopy after 3 – 5 years unless there is unusual risk.
Researchers were concerned that age or gender might make a difference in how often such follow-up should be scheduled. They reviewed the information in a database of 1800 patients who had two colonoscopies where a neoplastic polyp was removed during the first one.
They found that 19% of patients had at least one new polyp bigger than 5 millimeters on the second colonoscopy. Six percent had a polyp larger than 10 millimeters. However, there was no difference in the overall risk of polyps recurring in any age group or gender.
They wrote in the November/December 2005 issue of the *Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology* — 39(10):894-899:
Conclusions: Similar rates of neoplasia recurrence were observed among patients of different gender and age groups on surveillance colonoscopy. From a health resource utilization perspective, these findings support current recommendations for similar surveillance intervals for patients regardless of age and gender.
It is important to note that last year a survey published in the [Annals of Internal Medicine](http://www.annals.org/cgi/content/summary/141/4/264) found that half of gastroenterologists and from 50 to 80 percent of general surgeons would perform colonoscopy more frequently than the guidelines call for. The authors of the study asked, *”Are physicians doing too much colonoscopy?”*
[Read the abstract of the article in the *Journal Clinical Oncology*.](http://www.jcge.com/pt/re/jclngastro/abstract.00004836-200511000-00009.htm;jsessionid=DLd1Nrh6yh1i2eU2xQ51sqtxG5Fr0DTluBn0U5Q37sStEni3zbXX!-1774793403!-949856145!9001!-1)