Often it’s a case of misinformation about the procedure or colon cancer – which are often colonoscopy myths. Many people don’t realize that colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers and that a quick, mildly uncomfortable exam (colonoscopy) can save their life.
Here are some of the most common colonoscopy myths and excuses.
1. My colonoscopy can wait.
Much of life was on hold due to the pandemic, but colon cancer didn’t take a break. Now, plenty of other things can get in the way. But, delaying your colonoscopy could cause cancer to develop undetected. When colon cancer progresses it’s more difficult to treat. The chances of survival decrease.
2. I don’t need a colonoscopy if I don’t have symptoms
In the early stages, colon cancer rarely has symptoms. By the time you have symptoms of colon cancer, it may be at an advanced stage. The key to surviving colon cancer is early detection and prevention. This is one of the most dangerous colonoscopy myths to believe. Schedule a colonoscopy in San Antonio here.
3. The prep is horrible
Most people don’t complain about time in the bathroom as much as the volume and taste of the cleansing solution. Recent advances in bowel prep mean patients are drinking 75% less solution than just a few years ago and there are more pleasant-tasting options, too.
Gone are the days of consuming a gallon of poor-tasting liquid. Our easy-prep method means you’ll only need to drink two 16-oz. servings of cleansing solution. Plus, you can add flavoring, so don’t worry about the taste.
4. A colonoscopy is painful
You shouldn’t experience pain as part of a colonoscopy. Sedation is used during the procedure and eliminates any discomfort. Most patients don’t even remember the short procedure.
If you’re afraid of sedation or pain during the procedure, talk to your doctor. They can discuss all your options and help alleviate your fear.
Here’s how some of our patients have described their colonoscopy experience:
“Everything went very smooth. No pain whatsoever when I woke up. Had a great sleep.”
“Like most patients, I was apprehensive about undergoing a procedure I have had several times over the years. Unlike previous experiences, however, I experienced no discomfort or pain with any aspect of this procedure.”
“Had a nice experience, being the 1st time. Staff made me feel comfortable. Surprisingly quick procedure without any pain. I would certainly recommend Dr. Espinoza.”
“Super friendly, really friendly! Super clean place, exceptionally efficient, quiet and private. Always thought this procedure was one to dread. I had ZERO discomfort. Great folks, super system. Thanx!”
5. I’m not at risk for colon cancer
The truth is: If you have a colon, you are at risk for colon cancer.
One in 20 Americans will get colon cancer in their lifetime.
60% of deaths from colorectal cancer could be avoided with proper screening.
Everyone should be screened for pre-cancerous polyps and colon cancer at age 45. Even earlier if you have certain risk factors.
6. I’m a woman and less likely to get colon cancer.
Women are only slightly less likely to get colon cancer, and gender makes no difference in the screening recommendations.
Colon cancer is the #2 cause of cancer deaths for men AND women in the U.S.
7. Colonoscopies are expensive
Because screening colonoscopies are the gold standard for preventing colorectal cancer, most insurance plans (including Medicare) will exempt them from your deductible. This minimizes or eliminates your out-of-pocket costs!
To learn more about the difference between screening and diagnostic colonoscopies, click here.
8. Colonoscopies are dangerous. My colon could be perforated.
Colonoscopies are very safe. The risk of colon perforation is less than 1 in 1,000. By contrast, 1 in 20 Americans will be diagnosed with colon cancer during their lifetime.
9. It’s too embarrassing
Doctors understand how sensitive the colonoscopy experience can be. Every effort is made to make it as comfortable, private, and respectful as possible. Our patients often tell us how comfortable the (potentially) embarrassing procedure was.
“Been going to Dr. Piesman for over 15 years for colonoscopies…In addition to the excellent care he and his staff provide, he also is very friendly, very willing to engage with the patient and answer questions. These procedures deal with topics that can be embarrassing for the patient, but Dr. Piesman always puts you at ease.”
“Very nice people. Willing to go the extra mile to help. Procedure was fast and easy, of course, I was anesthetized. Was not embarrassed or made to feel foolish when asking questions. Dr. Ali was the greatest. “
10. I can just do an at-home stool test
Some people like the idea of doing a stool test at home. However, these tests are not as good at finding polyps and even early-stage colon cancer, meaning that you can go undiagnosed for too long. By the time you get a diagnosis, your cancer will be more difficult to treat.
Plus, if your test is positive, you will still need a colonoscopy to confirm the results.
11. Colon Cancer can’t be prevented
Finding and removing colon polyps is one of the best ways to prevent colon cancer.
All colorectal cancers start as precancerous polyps, which are growths that protrude from the inner wall of the large intestine. Colonoscopy is the gold standard for finding and painlessly removing these polyps before they turn into cancer.
In fact, US colon and rectal cancer rates have dropped 30% in the last 10 years among adults age 50+. This is because more Americans are having screening colonoscopies to prevent cancer. Unfortunately, the rates of colon cancer in people under 50 are going up. That’s why the recommended age to start getting colonoscopies is 45.
Despite that, colorectal cancer is still the second-leading cancer killer in the United States.