No Excuses: Get Screened!

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No Excuses. Get Screened for Colorectal Cancer.

1 in 23 men and 1 in 25 women will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer. 60% of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented with screening and the likelihood of dying from colorectal cancer has been decreasing due to screening. 

When it comes to getting screened, do these excuses look familiar? 

I don’t have time for a colonoscopy. 

Yes you do! If you’re thinking you don’t have time to get screened, make sure you check out non-invasive take-home options. Ask your doctor what options are available to you to complete your screening. The best test is the test that gets done!  

I’m younger than 45. I can’t get colorectal cancer

Yes you can. Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among men and women combined. No matter your age, gender, or health, if you are having symptoms or a family history of colorectal cancer and of polyps. Be sure to share this your doctor when discussing your screening options. Colorectal cancer can happen for those under 45. We want you to catch it as early as possible, when it’s most curable. 

I don’t have the money for a colonoscopy. 

If you’re considering skipping or postponing your screening because you don’t have insurance, think again. There are a few ways to go about finding a free or low-cost screening. 

  • If you’re over age 45, see if your state has a CDC CRCCP and ask if you’re eligible for free screening. 
  • Visit colonoscopy assist to see if they have any options that work for you.
  • Call your local health department to ask if there is a state-funded program.
  • Ask your primary care physician if you are eligible for a non-invasive screening test.

I don’t want anyone “down there.”

We get it. The thought of someone seeing your butt can be uncomfortable. First off, you won’t feel a thing! If you have a colonoscopy, you will be sedated and when you wake up you won’t feel any discomfort, except for maybe a little gas. Your doctor can help you find the best screening option for you and answer any question you have or address your concerns.

Remember — gastroenterologists see butts all day, every day. Yours isn’t going to be one they remember or even think twice about!

The prep sounds like the worst.

There are several colonoscopy preps to choose from, and it can get confusing to know which one to use. Your doctor will recommend what they prefer. Some require large volumes of water to work effectively, but you can ask about other options that seem easier to you.

The cost of each prep differs. Talk to your doctor and your insurance company to figure out which option works best for you and your budget. Some prep methods are available over the counter for less than $20.

If you can’t bring yourself to take the prep, there are take-home stool tests available that don’t require prep. 

I’m not at risk for colorectal cancer. 

First, it’s important to realize there are some circumstances that you can control and others you can’t. Although your risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with age, anyone at any age can get CRC

The lifetime risk for colorectal cancer is 5%, or one in 20. Colorectal cancer affects both men and women, as well as people of all ages, races, and ethnicities. It is one of the only truly preventable cancers thanks to screening.

Race and ethnicity play a role. Of all racial groups in the U.S., African Americans have the highest incidence and mortality rates, although the cause of this is not currently known. Worldwide, Jews of Eastern European descent (Ashkenazi Jews) have the highest risk of colorectal cancer. Doctors may suggest earlier screening if your race and ethnicity present an increased risk.

I’m too young.

Rates of colorectal cancer patients under age 50, a phenomenon referred to as early-age onset colorectal cancer, are on the rise.

It is extremely important to talk to your healthcare provider about signs and symptoms, such as (but not limited) to:

  • Blood in the stool
  • Abdominal pain
  • Unintentional weight loss

If you feel like your provider is not taking you seriously about signs or symptoms, advocate for yourself and if needed, find another provider.

I can’t leave my house to get screened. 

While telehealth has been around for years, a majority of people hadn’t experienced it until the COVID-19 spread through the US, forcing medical offices and hospitals to limit in-person care. 

While telehealth is a new method of care, don’t be nervous to try it out. Being able to access your doctors and members of your health care team from home is part of the current, and future delivery of healthcare. You can talk to your healthcare team about setting up screening for colorectal cancer from home.

No more excuses. 

If you are 45 or older, have a family history of colorectal cancer, or are experiencing symptoms, talk to your doctor to find out what screening option is right for you. Nobody fights alone. Whether you’re looking for colonoscopy prep tips, screening methods, or you’re looking for information post-diagnosis, we’re here.

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