“I don’t have time.” “I feel fine.” “I’m afraid.”
There are many excuses as to why only about 63 percent of all Americans ages 50 to 75 have been screened for Colon Cancer, and many of these excuses come from the misconceptions one might have about the procedure itself.
Colorectal cancer is extremely common, more common than you might think. In fact, it’s the third most common cancer in US men and women, and it is also the 2nd leading cause of cancer death in US men and women.
Over the last 20 years, however, the rates of this disease have been on a steady decline due in big part to Colon Cancer Screening. Not only can screening help find this cancer early, but it can also help prevent it as well. Most colorectal cancers begin as a small growth called a polyp. Finding these polyps and removing them stops cancer before it starts, making Colorectal cancer the most preventable, treatable, and beatable form of cancer.
So why aren’t people getting screened? You’ll see below many common excuses people use to avoid getting their Colonoscopy, along with our response as to why there truly is no excuse.
“I don’t want to do the prep.”
Most agree that prepping for a colonoscopy is the worst part of the procedure, but it isn’t as bad as you might expect. It is necessary for the colon to be clean so the gastroenterologist can perform a thorough exam. Your prep will be explained in detail at your pre-procedure nurse visit. Our practice uses the prep in which you use Gatorade and Dulcolax/Miralax. It’s not as bad as you might think, and it’s a small price to pay for your health.
“I’ll do it later.”
Is a loved one, friend, or family doctor begging you to have this done and you keep putting it off? There is no excuse to put off a procedure that could save your life. There are many people who wait several years past their suggested screening age and receive unfortunate results that could have potentially been avoided had they been screened years earlier.
“I’m embarrassed or afraid.”
Don’t let fear or embarrassment hold you back from being aware of your digestive health. Most patients find that they are very surprised at how much easier the procedure is than what they expected. We have certified anesthesia providers in each room for your comfort and all of our physicians are board-certified gastroenterologists. These procedures are performed in our comfortable in-office endoscopy centers.
“I don’t have time.”
The procedure generally only takes about 20 to 30 minutes and you are only in the office around 2-2.5 hours. You are required to prep for this procedure the evening before but most people only have to take off work one day –the day of the procedure. No time for your health today may lead to time spent on illness tomorrow.
“I feel fine. I’m not going to have a procedure until I have issues.”
Many people who are diagnosed with colorectal cancer have no symptoms, and people with polyps rarely have symptoms. If you wait to get tested after symptoms develop you might miss the chance to prevent the disease or to find it before it grows and spreads. When detected early, the chance of colon cancer survival is 90%. With that being said, there are a number of warning signs including: change in bowel movements, discomfort in or urge to move your bowels when there is no need, weight loss without dieting, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, constant fatigue, as well as frequent gas pain.
“I do not have a family history of colon cancer.”
Most people who get colorectal cancer DO NOT have a family history of the disease. The most common reason for getting colorectal cancer is simply getting older. Risk starts to go up around age 50 and continues to rise for the rest of your life. If you have a family history of the disease your risk is even higher, but, family history or not, everyone 50 and older should get tested. Those with a family history of colon cancer should be screened prior to the age of 50.