Colonoscopy is often the butt of medical jokes – but why? Colonoscopy is a cape-wearing superhero of colon cancer prevention, doing double-duty by both detecting and removing precancerous polyps. If you’re over 50, it’s time for a colonoscopy. Even if you’re under 50, if you have a family history of colon cancer, an inflammatory intestinal condition, or other colon cancer risk factors, you should ask your doctor if you need one. Colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, and it has a 90% 5-year survival rate when it’s found in early stages before it spreads.
So why do so many people still put off their colonoscopy? We’re here to debunk five common excuses.
Excuse #1: I heard colonoscopies are painful.
The Truth: Today, most colonoscopies are performed under sedation, and most of the time, you won’t even remember the procedure. Colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure, but you’ll need to have someone to drive you home, because you won’t be able to drive after sedation.
Excuse #2: I don’t know if I can handle the prep.
The Truth: The bowel cleanse to prepare for a colonoscopy is easier now than it’s ever been. Instead of drinking a gallon of prep in one go, there are now half-gallon options. Some doctors will also order a split dose, so you can drink half the night before your procedure and half in the morning. Just take the day off and stay close to a restroom, and you can get through the prep.
Excuse #3: I don’t have a family history of colon cancer, so I’m not at risk.
The Truth: Everyone should start getting colonoscopies at age 50, because 1 in 18 Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer. Some risk factors mean you should talk to your doctor about getting screened sooner, including:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (e.g., Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis)
- Lynch Syndrome
- Familial Adenomatous Polyposis
- Previous Colon Cancer
- Family History of Colon Cancer
Excuse #4: I’m too young to get colon cancer.
While rates of colon cancer are falling in the 50+ crowd, they’re on the rise in young adults. Researchers speculate that higher rates of obesity may be a factor. To reduce your risk, keep your weight in a healthy range and ask about any colon cancer or other risk factors in your family. Talk to your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Rectal bleeding
- Changes in stool color or size
- Change in bowel habits
- Colon or rectal pain
Excuse #5: I can’t afford a colonoscopy.
The Truth: We can help with that! Our pre-negotiated rates are about 40-60% lower than the national average cost, with trusted local doctors across the country.