Get the facts on protecting yourself against colon cancer
Do you have a colon? (You most likely do.) Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. You should know the facts around some of the common myths about this disease, so you know how to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Myth: Only elderly people need to worry about colon cancer. While colon cancer is most common in people over the age of 50, the disease does pose a risk for younger adults, and these cases are not usually connected to family history. Common symptoms of colon cancer include blood in stool and stomach pain or cramping that doesn’t stop. Younger people often overlook these symptoms due to embarrassment or an assumption that what they are experiencing is irritable bowel syndrome or hemorrhoids. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone begin routine testing at the age of 50. However, you should talk with your doctor to see if you have any risk factors that mean you should start testing earlier.
Myth: I can protect myself from colon cancer by eating a healthy diet. The best way to help prevent colon cancer is through colonoscopy testing. A colonoscopy can find precancerous growths in the colon years before they turn into cancer. Colonoscopy testing only needs to be done once every 10 years unless you are at higher risk.
Myth: If I feel fine, there is no problem. Precancerous growths can be growing in the colon for years before a person starts to feel symptoms. That is why it is important to talk to your doctor about when you should start getting tested. Also, pay attention to how you are feeling and talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any of the common symptoms of colon cancer.