BUSTED: Myths About Colon Cancer
Think you’re NOT at risk for colon cancer? Think again.
“If you’ve got a colon, you’re at risk,” says Carol Burke, MD, an expert in colon cancer prevention. Get this quick, life-saving exam. It’s easier than you think.
1.) "I’m not at risk of colon cancer."
Most patients who develop colorectal cancer have no apparent risk factors. If you have a colon, you are at risk for colon cancer!
2.) "I have no symptoms. I don’t need a colonoscopy."
Colorectal cancer grows from precancerous polyps that rarely cause symptoms. On average, precancerous polyps get detected on screening colonoscopy in 20% female and 30% male. Removing polyps during the colonoscopy prevents them from becoming cancerous.
3.) "I can’t drink the bowel prep."
Bowel preparation is a leading deterrent, but today’s preps are more comfortable to swallow. Smaller amounts of laxatives are needed. Some preps taste much better than before. Drinking at least 1/2 the prep the morning of your exam is the best way to clean the colon.
4.) "I’ve heard that colonoscopy isn’t accurate."
Claims that colonoscopy can’t protect you against colon cancer don’t hold up when you look at experienced specialists’ results. Their procedures are highly accurate in finding polyps, which get removed.
5.) "Colonoscopy is too painful."
With conscious sedation (twilight sleep) 99% of patients are comfortable during the colonoscopy (and most do not remember the exam). Heavier sedation is available when needed.
6.) "Colonoscopy is too risky. It can puncture the colon."
It’s extremely safe in the hands of experts. Risk statistics include:
OF BOWEL PERFORATION < 4 in 10,000
OF BLEEDING < 8 in 10,000
7.) "If I get colorectal cancer, it was meant to be."
The biggest myth of all! Avoid colon cancer by getting regular colonoscopies after age 45.
To lower your risk, eat a healthy diet, shed extra pounds, exercise, and avoid smoking. If you have a family history or are African-American, you should start sooner.