Sunday, March 24, 2013

Myths & Facts: Colorectal Cancer

This message can save your life and your BUTT!

Overcoming the many myths and misconceptions that prevent people from taking action and getting screened.

Myths & Misconceptions:

1. Myth - Colorectal Cancer only affects people over 50

Truth: A majority of colorectal cancers are diagnosed in people over 50 BUT the disease can affect people of any age, especially those with a strong family history of colon cancer. 

2. Myth - Colorectal cancer is a man's disease

Truth: Colorectal cancer does not discriminate and can develop in both men and women. Both men and women should undergo testing for the disease starting at age 50. Individuals with additional risk factors need to begin screening at age 40.  Additional risk factors include: family history, inflammatory bowel disease, smoking, obesity. 

3. Myth - A polyp means I have cancer

Truth: Polyps are benign growths that have the potential to develop into cancer if left unchecked. Not all polyps are pre-cancerous. Early identification and removal of these growths is key to preventing colorectal cancer from developing. Polyps can be easily removed during a colonoscopy.

4. Myth - I don't have any symptoms, so I must be fine

Truth: One of the major misconceptions is that an individual will have symptoms if they have colorectal cancer. Often times, colorectal cancer first develops with minor, if any symptoms.  If you are experiencing any symptoms please discuss them with your MD. It is advised to address early symptoms and not to wait until you feel discomfort or pain.

5. Myth - Smoking won't affect my colon

Truth: Smoking is a risk factor for lung cancer but it's also a risk for colon cancer. So Butt It Out! Study results strengthen the evidence that tobacco use increases the polyp and abnormal growth projecting from a mucous membrane. Inhaled or swallowed tobacco smoke transports carcinogens to the colon.

6. Myth - Colon Cancer is more prevalent in obese individuals

Truth: Excess body weight especially around the midsection and obesity have been clearly linked to an increase risk for colon cancer BUT individuals with a normal body weight are not immune. Reduce your risk through lifestyle choices. 

You've Been BUSTED! No more excuses, please GET SCREENED.

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