Colorectal cancer is an incredibly destructive disease. Not only can it take your life, but it can cause serious symptoms and misery along the way. Unfortunately, there are some common myths that circulate about colon cancer. Learning the truth about them will help you better protect yourself and your loved ones from colorectal cancer.
Myth: There's no reason to think about colorectal cancer if you don't have symptoms.
Maybe you've heard of the key symptom of colorectal cancer: blood in the stool, abdominal pain, irregular bowel movements, and weight loss. If you don't have any of these symptoms, you might suspect you don't need to think about colorectal cancer. After all, you probably don't worry about the common cold if you don't have a sniffle! But colorectal cancer doesn't tend to cause these symptoms until it is pretty advanced. As such, you really want to start thinking about colorectal cancer before you develop symptoms. This is when it is best to get screened via a colonoscopy.
Myth: If it doesn't run in your family, you don't have to worry.
If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you are at an increased risk for colon cancer yourself. However, family history is not the only risk factor to be concerned with. Plenty of people without a family history do develop colorectal cancer. Smoking, a diet high in red meat, a history of inflammatory conditions, and lack of physical activity are also risk factors. Some patients don't have any of the common risk factors and still develop colorectal cancer! So, no matter who you are, it's important to be screened once you reach your 40s.
Myth: Colon cancer screening hurts.
You might think a colonoscopy would hurt, but it's not nearly as uncomfortable as it is rumored to be. This is largely because your doctor will either sedate you or put you under anesthesia during the procedure. You can go straight back to regular activities the next day. There should not be any lingering pain, although you'll probably be pretty hungry after having fasted before the colonoscopy! Getting screened is an almost painless, simple way to make sure colon cancer does not go undiagnosed.
Colorectal cancer is a fierce enemy, but you can fight back with the truth. Talk to your doctor to learn more about colon cancer screening, risk factors, and the indicators that you should make an appointment for a screening procedure.