Nobody wants to get colon cancer. Unfortunately, however, it is a rather common form of cancer, and there is a significant chance that someone close to you may get it at some point. As such, it is a good idea to know a little bit about colon cancer and colon cancer screening. Here are some common misconceptions that people often hold — and that could use some clearing up.
Misconception: You don't have to worry about colon cancer until you're old.
Older people are more prone to cancer, but you can develop colon cancer at any age. So, it's a good idea to be on the lookout for possible symptoms of colon cancer so you can contact your doctor if any of them appear. Symptoms to look out for include blood in the stool, difficulty emptying the bowels, pain during defecation, narrow stools, and a frequent need to use the bathroom. If you have these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean you have colon cancer. Several other ailments, like IBS, can cause similar symptoms. What it does mean is that you should see a doctor and have them check you for colon cancer.
Misconception: If you don't have symptoms, there is no reason to be screened.
If you have possible symptoms of colon cancer, you should absolutely be screened. But a lack of symptoms is not a reason to skip your scheduled screening, either. The CDC recommends that most adults are screened for colon cancer beginning at age 45. The goal of screening is to catch more cases of colon cancer really early when they are easier to treat. Colon cancer does not always cause symptoms at this stage. So, to skip a screening because you're not symptomatic ignores the core purpose of screening in the first place.
Misconception: Only men have to worry about colon cancer.
There is a common myth that only men have to worry about colon cancer, and only women need to worry about breast cancer. Neither of these statements is true. Colon cancer affects almost as many women as it does men, which is why people of all genders should adhere to the CDC screening guidelines.
With these misconceptions cleared up, you are better equipped to protect yourself from colon cancer. Make sure you keep your screening appointments and talk to your doctor if you have other questions.
For more information about colon cancer, contact a local doctor.