7 Reasons You Should Get A Colonoscopy (Even If You Don’t Want To)
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A colonoscopy isn’t everybody’s idea of a good time. But it’s the best way to protect your health and decrease your colon cancer risk.
Colonoscopies save lives. Though it’s inconvenient to prepare for the exam, the relief of knowing about your colon health can’t be matched. Colon cancer is common — and preventable. Everyone who has a colon is at risk for developing colon cancer.
Why “Don’t Get a Colonoscopy” Is Terrible Advice
You may have heard someone say “Don’t get a colonoscopy.” Perhaps it was a friend or someone on the internet. But that’s terrible advice.
While getting a colonoscopy is something you may not look forward to, it’s one of the most important procedures for your long-term health. Finding colon cancer early, if you have it, can save your life. And a colonoscopy can prevent colon cancer completely.
Still unconvinced that you need to get a colonoscopy? Here are seven reasons why you should schedule your colonoscopy (even if you don’t think it’s important).
1. Colon Cancer Doesn’t Discriminate
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer. It’s the second most common cause of cancer deaths. Though most people who are diagnosed with colon cancer are over 50, that’s been changing in the last decade. The amount of colon cancer diagnoses have increased in younger adults.
Anyone can develop colon cancer, even those who are healthy without a family history of the disease.
2. Colonoscopies Prevent Cancer
Colon cancer starts as little growths called polyps that develop on the lining of the colon or rectum. As the polyps grow over time, some of them will become cancerous. During a colonoscopy, a gastroenterologist can find and remove polyps. This decreases the risk of colon cancer, which is a preventable cancer.
3. Early Colon Cancer Doesn’t Have Warning Signs
Colon cancer is most curable when it’s in the early stages. But early colon cancer is asymptomatic, so you can’t wait to feel symptoms before scheduling a colonoscopy.
4. The Exam Isn’t as Bad as You Think
When people talk about their colonoscopies, they often say that the prep is the worst part! But the laxative that’s used before the exam has improved. It’s more efficient, so you don’t have to drink as much, and the taste is better, too.
The exam itself is often done under conscious sedation. Most people are comfortable during their colonoscopies, even finding it pleasant! Most don’t remember their exam afterward.
5. Colonoscopies are Accurate…
Coloscopies can find more than 95% of cancer cells and large precancerous polyps in the colon. That’s why they’re called “the gold standard!”
6. And Safe!
Despite any rumors you may have heard, colonoscopies performed by experienced specialists are extremely safe. There are some risks, but they are low. Fewer than 1 in 1,000 people have complications from a colonoscopy. To put that in perspective, about 1 in 18 will develop colon cancer.
7. Colon Cancer Screening Lets You Take Charge
Getting a colonoscopy is one of the easiest ways to take a proactive approach to your health. The American Cancer Society recommends screenings start at 45. If you have a family history of colon cancer or other risk factors, ask your gastroenterologist if you would benefit from earlier screenings.
Though not all cancers can be prevented, colon cancer can. If you’re over 45, schedule a colonoscopy today.