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2 Your Well-Being: true and false about colon cancer

Dr. Vito Cirigliano with LeBauer Gastroenterology breaks down fact from fiction.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The American Cancer Society says colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. With so many cases, there are many myths floating around.

Dr. Vito Cirigliano with LeBauer Gastroenterology breaks down fact from fiction.

TRUE: Colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable and treatable cancers.

Regular colorectal cancer screening is one of the most powerful tools for preventing colorectal cancer. With regular screening, most polyps can be found and removed before they have the chance to turn into cancer.  

FALSE: Young adults are not at risk for colon cancer.   

The American Cancer Society now recommends that people at average risk of colorectal cancer start regular screening at age 45. People at increased or high risk of colorectal cancer might need to start colorectal cancer screening earlier. That includes those with a family history.

FALSE: If you're not experiencing symptoms, you don't need to be screened. 

Many people who are diagnosed with colon cancer do not have symptoms. Some systems include:

  • A persistent change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
  • Persistent abdominal discomforts, such as cramps, gas, or pain
  • A feeling that your bowel doesn't empty completely
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

FALSE: Colonoscopies are uncomfortable. 

Colonoscopies have changed a lot over the years. Dr. Cirigliano said the amount you have to drink to flush yourself out has lesson considerably. In some cases, people can even just take a pill.