Five Harmful Myths About Colorectal Cancer
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal cancer kills thousands of people every year. However, thanks to more public awareness about the disease, the American Cancer Society reports that the death rate has been steadily declining in recent years. More people are getting screened for cancer for earlier diagnosis and treatment or are altering their lifestyles to promote colon health by eating better, exercising, and giving up smoking. In the interest of creating more proactive patients, Pegalis Law Group, LLC sheds light on five harmful myths about colorectal cancer to help save lives:
Myth 1: Colorectal Cancer Only Affects Older, White Men.
Contrary to public myth, colorectal cancer is not just a risk for older white males. Colorectal cancer affects men and women of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. Out of all the U.S. ethnic groups, African-Americans actually have the highest risk of colorectal cancer. Half of the annual colorectal cancer deaths are women. Age is also a significant factor, with 9 out of 10 people diagnosed being over 50. The American Cancer Society suggests colon cancer screenings (colonoscopies) begin at age 45. However, depending on your risk factors and family history, you may talk to your doctor about screening earlier.
Myth 2: I’m Too Young to Worry About Colorectal Cancer.
Younger adults are also diagnosed with colorectal cancer. You’re never too young to worry about your health and making changes to your lifestyle. You can decrease the risk of developing colorectal cancer by adhering to a low-fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Early colon cancer screenings often identify pre-cancerous polyps on the colon and rectum before they turn cancerous. Aside from colonoscopies, stool testing kits are also available to check your colon health.
Myth 3: Colonoscopies Are Painful & Present Health Risks.
Colonoscopies aren’t nearly as uncomfortable as you might imagine. Patients are sedated during this quick procedure, which usually takes less than 30 minutes. Modern colonoscopies are safe and have minimal risks. Most people can resume normal activities within a day. Although colonoscopies are the most accurate at detecting polyps, there are other screening options available. Talk to your doctor about when and how often you should be screened for colorectal cancer.
Myth 4: Colorectal Cancer Is Always a Fatal Diagnosis.
The earlier your colorectal cancer is detected, the less likely it is to be fatal. Unfortunately, many patients are not diagnosed until the disease has spread beyond the colon or rectum to include other parts of the body. The key is to discuss your colon health with your doctor. You don’t have to have a family history to be worried about colorectal cancer. Studies show as many as 75% of new cases occur in people with no known risk factors. Because many people don’t exhibit symptoms until their colorectal cancer advances, you can’t expect to wait for symptoms to begin screening for the disease.
Myth 5: Colorectal Cancer Cannot Be Prevented.
Colorectal cancer often begins with the growth of pre-cancerous polyps. If these polyps are discovered early, doctors can remove them. This can stop the spread of cancer in the body before it begins. Not all polyps are cancerous, but they could potentially become cancerous if ignored. As stated previously, you can make lifestyle changes to diet and exercise to prevent you from developing colorectal cancer.
Helping Create Proactive Patients for 50+ Years Practicing for nearly 50 years, Pegalis Law Group, LLC is a New York law firm concentrating on personal injury and medical malpractice cases. Besides helping clients achieve some of the largest verdicts and settlements in our state’s history, we’re also dedicated to creating more proactive patients. Please visit our website and follow us on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to receive additional insights about how you can be proactive about your family’s healthcare.