Colorectal cancers are the second-leading cause of death from cancer in the U.S. Monitoring your colon health is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, but many people approach the prospect of a colonoscopy with fear and trepidation – and avoidance. Adults over 50 need to get regular colonoscopies every few years to ensure that there are no issues that could become serious problems.
Here are some of the common myths that convince far too many people to avoid having a colonoscopy:
Myth: The preparation for a colonoscopy is difficult.
It is essential to have a clean colon so that any issues, like polyps and other suspicious growths, can be detected with a colonoscope. If the proctologist can’t see it, it cannot be diagnosed.
You will have to avoid high-fiber foods for several days before the procedure, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts. The day before the colonoscopy, you can only have clear broth, coffee, tea, and clear juices like apple and white grape, etc. You can have popsicles. On the day of the procedure, you cannot eat or drink anything for two hours before the procedure.
Fortunately, none of this is as difficult as some people fear. It’s important to prepare for the procedure, but the end result of knowing that you’re healthy or identifying problems before they become worse is worth it.
Myth: The procedure is painful.
This is just not true. The patient is usually given an anesthetic to sleep and is quite comfortable during the colonoscopy.
Myth: A colonoscopy does not prevent colorectal cancer.
The procedure allows for the discovery and removal of small pre-cancerous polyps, which can develop into cancer. The prevalence of polyps increases with age; 30 percent of men and 20 percent of women can develop polyps. That is why people are advised to get regular colonoscopies after the age of 50. The follow-up schedule is determined by what is found in the initial colonoscopy.
Myth: Colonoscopies carry a risk of complications.
There are risks associated with the procedure, but they are modest. The rate of serious complications is 2.8 per 1000 procedures. The risk of death during a colonoscopy is .0007 percent. The risks associated with undiagnosed colorectal cancer are considerably higher. In 2019, 145,600 adults in the United States will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer. The disease mainly affects older adults, but diagnoses are rising in younger adults. The estimate for 2019 is that 51,020 Americans will die of colorectal cancer.
At GastroCare LI, our team is here to help answer any questions you might have about the colonoscopy procedure and how to prepare for it. Call us at (516) 265-7149 or reach out to us online today.