Myths

1.  I feel fine, so I don’t need a colonoscopy.

FALSE! Most colorectal polyps and even cancers do not cause any symptoms until they are advanced. Don’t wait for symptoms, preventing cancer is better than treating it.

2. The preparation for the colonoscopy is awful!

FALSE! While the choice of bowel prep does depend upon other medical conditions, most people are able to use a modern low volume prep that makes the process much easier.

3. I will be completely awake and remember everything.

FALSE! Most colonoscopy procedures are done with sedation so that you are comfortable and most likely will not remember the procedure at all.

4. If polyps are found, my insurance company will not cover the procedure.

FALSE! The whole point of screening is to assess your risk for colon cancer and to remove polyps that are precancerous to protect you from colon cancer. When colonoscopy is done for screening purposes (not for symptoms) insurance companies are required to treat it as a preventative service, which usually means no out of pocket cost. Finding and removing polyps should not change this. See the Oregon law that protects you.

5. Only people over 50 need a colonoscopy.

FALSE! If you have a family history of colon or rectal cancer or polyps in an immediate family member you need your first colonoscopy at age 40, or 10 years younger than the family member was diagnosed. Click here to receive more info on colonoscopies!

6. No one in my family has had colon cancer, so I don’t need to worry about this.

False! While having a family history of colon cancer certainly increases your risk of colorectal cancer, not having a family history does not protect you! Most people presenting with the diagnosis of colorectal cancer do not have a family history of colorectal cancer.

7. My bleeding is from my hemorrhoids.

False!  While this may be the case, that you are bleeding from hemorrhoids, it is important to rule out an additional source of bleeding such as a polyp or cancer.  Many people who have advanced cancers had bleeding for several years that they attributed to their hemorrhoids when in fact the bleeding was a warning sign of cancer.

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