Colorectal cancer is a common cause for many deaths in a year. However, the death rate is supposed to come down in every year because of factors such as colon cancer screening facilities being easily available, people are more aware of their health and so they will eat healthily and fewer still will smoke. Treatment methodologies are more effective. In spite of these factors, many individuals die due to colon cancer because of the myths that they believe in and fail to take action on time.
We have attempted to list a few common myths and debunk them so that you can save yourself.
Myth #1: There are no symptoms, so I do not have colon cancer
About 50% of individuals that have been diagnosed with colon cancer have had no symptoms of the disease whatsoever. Symptoms such as sudden and unexplained weight loss, rectal bleeding, changes in stools (color and composition), and abdominal pain can all signal colorectal cancer. If the symptoms start to show, then the disease may be more advanced.
Myth #2: It is impossible to prevent colorectal cancer
This is untrue as in many cases it is possible to prevent colon cancer. Colon cancer sometimes begins as a small growth called a polyp. If a polyp is spotted during a colonoscopy during colon cancer screening, the doctors will remove it and cancer can be prevented at its earliest stage.
All polyps are not cancerous growths. Polyps are benign, but some of them have the potential to become cancerous later on.
Myth #3: Colonoscopy is an uncomfortable experience
Colonoscopy is not uncomfortable because the patient is sedated during the procedure which lasts for about 15 – 30 minutes. This removes all the discomfort. You can resume normal day-to-day activities from the next day onwards.
Myth #4: Colonoscopy is the only method available to detect colorectal cancer
A colonoscopy is recommended for any normal adult over the age of 45. You can talk to your consulting specialist if you are over 45. Nevertheless, if you have a family history of colorectal cancer or ulcerative colitis or you smoke, you are obese or have Crohn’s disease, then your consulting doctor will guide you about when and how frequently you should have colon cancer screening.
There are different options for colon cancer screening. Flexible sigmoidoscopy and fecal testing are some of them. Colonoscopy is the best because it helps to detect more polyps and cancers than any other method. It helps the doctor to have a view of the entire colon and allows the doctor to screen, diagnose and remove precancerous polyps in one single visit.
Myth #5: Colon cancer is fatal
This is not always true. It is fatal when the disease is detected in the metastatic stage. This is true for about a quarter of the affected patients. At this stage, cancer would have spread to the other parts of the body.
It is also possible for these patients to get cured by seeking different treatment options at specialized hospitals such as MPCT Cancer Hospital, which is the best cancer hospital in Mumbai.
Prognosis is very good for colon cancer if it is detected in the early stages. This is the reason why colon cancer screening is important for every individual over the age of 45.