Colorectal Cancer: Fact vs. Fiction
Fiction: Colorectal cancer is a disease of only older, white men.
Fact: Nearly an equal number of men and women get colorectal cancer. In addition, African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in its advanced stages.
Fiction: I don’t have any symptoms, so it’s not a problem for me.
Fact: Colon cancer and colon polyps usually do not have symptoms when they are in cureable stages.
Fiction: There is nothing I can do about getting colorectal cancer.
Fact: Few Americans know that colorectal cancer may be preventable! Screening methods can detect colorectal cancer early and remove polyps before they become cancerous.
Fiction: Colorectal cancer is usually fatal.
Fact: Colorectal cancer is usually curable when detected early! Ninety-one percent of patients with localized colorectal cancer (confined to the colon and rectum) are alive five years after diagnosis.
Fiction: Screenings are necessary only for individuals who have symptoms.
Fact: Since symptoms of colorectal cancer are often silent, it is important to obtain regular screenings. Men and women who are 50 or older should get screened regularly for colorectal cancer. About 75 percent of all new cases of colorectal cancer occur in individuals who, other than their age, exhibit no known risk factors for the disease.
Fiction: If you don’t have a family history of colorectal cancer you don’t have to worry about it.
Fact: Most colorectal cancer is found in people without a family history of colorectal cancer.
Fiction: If you had a CT scan in the Emergency Room last year, you don’t need to be screened.
Fact: Colonoscopy, Barium Enema and CT Colonography are the only ways to screen for polyps and cancers of the colon. Colonoscopy is the only technique that can remove the polyps.