Good news travels fast. Want to hear some amazing news? Most cases of colon cancer are preventable with regular screenings. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 out of 3 eligible Americans between the ages of 50 and 75 years of age are not being screened according to guidelines set forth by the U.S. Preventative Task Force. This gap is largely due to two factors: lack of knowledge or fear of the procedure.
Many men and women are unaware of the importance of colon screenings and the role they play in colon cancer prevention. The gold standard in colon screening is the colonoscopy. Whereas other colon screenings may detect the presence of blood in the stool or an abnormality in the colon, only the colonoscopy can remove precancerous polyps and actually prevent colon cancer. A colonoscopy is the only method of screening that inspects the entire colon from the cecum to rectum so you can be confident that you are colon cancer-free. Other colon screening methods require a follow-up colonoscopy after a positive test result, so why not just go for the gold?
Fear of the unknown is another reason why people procrastinate when it comes to colon screenings. Everyone has heard stories about the prescription laxatives and the hunger pains associated with colonoscopies, but it’s important to remember that the preparation day is essential for a quality exam. Staying up-to-date with your colonoscopies means that you likely will not have to repeat the procedure for another decade! And here’s another little secret: colonoscopies don’t hurt either. The sedative prevents you from feeling—or remembering—anything about the exam.
Colonoscopies save lives. This is the best news that you can share with your family and friends. Celebrate Colon Cancer Awareness Month by scheduling a colonoscopy for yourself, a parent or a friend. If you are not eligible for a colonoscopy yet, you can be a caregiver for a loved one during his or her procedure. Let’s partner together and prevent colon cancer!