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Colon Cancer Myth vs. Fact: “I Don’t Have Symptoms so I Don’t Have Colon Cancer"

Woman standing by a window talking with her doctor

Many illnesses have telltale symptoms, and we can practically diagnose ourselves. We all recognize a sore throat, cough, fever and congestion as symptoms of the flu. Most of us know when we are developing the common cold by that feeling we get in our nose and throat. But what about when an illness has no symptoms? When we have no symptoms, it hard to believe that we are sick, and it is easy to be in a state of denial

Myth: “I Don’t Feel Sick so I Must be Fine”

One disease that can have no symptoms is colon cancer. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States and is expected to cause over 50,000 deaths in 2014. Many new colon cancer patients are asymptomatic so their diagnosis can be shocking and unsettling.

The erroneous assumption that “no symptoms means no disease” has caused many men and women to not schedule a colonoscopy at the proper time. All adults who are at average risk should have a colonoscopy at the age of 50, but many men and women assume they do not need to be screened because they feel fine.

Truth: Everyone is at Risk

The fact is that every adult has a 1 in 5 chance of developing colon cancer. Isn’t a 20 percent risk enough reason to schedule a colonoscopy? Family history and risk factors can increase this percentage to an even higher level, so some individuals need to be screened earlier than age 50. The goal of a colonoscopy is to detect colon cancer before symptoms develop. Colon cancer is 90 percent treatable when discovered in the early stages, so early diagnosis means more effective treatment.

Don’t wait until you have bowel changes or issues with your colon before scheduling a colon screening. Talk to your doctor about when you should have a baseline colonoscopy. If you have not scheduled your first colonoscopy, click here to find a treatment center near you.

posted on February 9, 2014 in news