My 69-year-old mother tested positive in her cologuard test and was advised of a colonoscopy. Is it serious?

Q. Is a positive cologuard test of a 69-year-old serious?

Answered by
Dr. Ghulam Fareed
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 28, 2023

Hello doctor,

My mother tested positive in her cologuard test last month and was advised to get a colonoscopy. We have called at least eight different practices, but the earliest she can get in for a colonoscopy is next month. My mother is an anxious person, and so is my dad. She had a colonoscopy seven years ago, and the gastroenterologist reported no issues then. My mom is 69 years old. As to family history, her mom died from pancreatic cancer at 77 years, and her dad died from a stroke at 96 years. She does not have any gastro complaints. She goes fairly regularly, two or three times a day. I was wondering if a gastroenterologist had any input about this cologuard test. Are there possible reasons for a positive result on cologuard that are not dire? She is taking thyroid and anxiety medications.

Thank you.



Welcome to

I have reviewed the case history. The cologaurd test is used for the initial screening of colorectal cancer. Considering the last colonoscopy, which was normal, and she is asymptomatic from a gastrointestinal point of view, I guess waiting for a few more weeks from now should be fine, especially when you have already tried your level best to find out appointment slot for colonoscopy as early as possible. Cologaurd can be falsely positive in up to 10 to 12 percent of the patients, especially those with hemorrhoids, diarrhea, etc. She should be monitoring her stools and body weight. If the colonoscopy is next month, then you can arrange a gastrointestinal follow-up so that a doctor can physically examine her stomach and advise some non-invasive tests like CT (computed tomography) scan abdomen with contrast if needed. This test can pick large lesions, and later on, a colonoscopy can be scheduled.

Thank you.

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