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Six Excuses for Avoiding Your Colorectal Cancer Screening

Don’t Skip This Screening

When it comes to colorectal cancer, regular screening is important.

Early detection helps catch small growths that can be removed before they become cancerous. Screening can also often find colorectal cancer early, when it might be easier to treat.

What’s your reason for skipping this important screening? We hope these answers will change your mind:

Screenings for colorectal cancer are uncomfortable.

This is not always true. We all dread the liquid cleanse required to empty your colon the 24 hours before a colonoscopy, but newer cleanses are available that make the flavor and texture more tolerable. Some at-home screenings allow you to collect stool samples in the comfort of your own bathroom. Beware: at-home screening tests aren’t as good at finding polyps, and you’ll probably still need a colonoscopy if the results are positive. Talk to your physician about the screening best suited for you.

I don’t have any colorectal cancer symptoms.

You might not get symptoms right away. Besides, it can take 10 to 15 years for a polyp to develop into colorectal cancer. Regular screening can prevent colorectal cancer by finding and removing polyps before they have the chance to turn into cancer, and before you experience uncomfortable symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, rectal bleeding, or unintended weight loss – to name just a few.

It’s expensive.

Medicare and many private insurance plans cover the costs for most screening tests, including a colonoscopy. Review your health insurance plan for details about any deductibles and co-pays. Be sure your physician is part of the “in-network” providers.

I don’t have time.

In less than one hour, you can have answers about colorectal polyps. A sigmoidoscopy usually takes 10 to 20 minutes, whereas a colonoscopy takes 30 minutes and some advance preparation. And, many at-home screening kits require even less time and very little prep work. Your health is important and a little time now can save a lot in the long run.

I’m too young.

Even though colorectal cancer is more common among older adults, younger adults can get it. The American Cancer Society recommends screening, starting at age 50, and earlier if you have a strong family history of colorectal cancer, polyps, or a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome.

I don’t have a family history

Many people with colorectal cancer don’t have a family history. There are certain risk factors that you can’t change including your age; a personal history of colorectal polyps and inflammatory bowel disease; and a personal history of type 2 diabetes. African Americans and people of Eastern European Jewish descent have increased risks as well.

It’s easy to let routine screenings slip by, but as you get older, checkups will be increasingly important, especially for diseases like colorectal cancer. Not sure when to go? Our infographics spell it out for men and women.