Myths & Facts

  1. Myth: Colorectal cancer is a man’s disease.
    Truth: Colorectal cancer affects both men and women equally.
  2. Myth: I don’t have any symptoms so I must not have colorectal cancer.
    Truth: One of the most widely held misconception is that symptoms will be evident. More than half of people diagnosed have no symptoms. Symptoms such as a change in stools, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, anemia or constant tiredness can all signal colon cancer. Once the symptoms start to develop it may be a sign of more advanced disease.
  3. Myth: Once diagnosed, it is too late to do anything.
    Truth: Colorectal cancer is preventable and highly treatable when caught at an early stage. People diagnosed at early stages have a very high percentage of curing and surviving. Therefore, it makes good sense to get screened.
  4. Myth: You don’t need to get screened if there is no family history of the disease.
    Truth: If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may need to star tscreening before age 50. Consult your MD about screening options best for you. Most people with colorectal cancer don’t have a family member with the disease. Only 10-20% of people that have colorectal cancer have a family member afflicted.
  5. Myth: Colonoscopy is the only way to screen for colorectal cancer.
    Truth: There are several screening options for colorectal cancer, including fecal occult blood text (FOBT), fecal imuno-chemical test (FIT), sigmoidoscopy and the double-contrast barium enema.
  6. Myth: Colonoscopy is unpleasant, uncomfortable and difficult to prepare for.
    Truth: Preparing for colonoscopy involves cleaning the colon with the help of prescription and over the counter medicine. Typically, they must be consumed a day or 2 before the procedure. During the actual procedure patients are sedated to eliminate discomfort. The procedure itself takes between 15-20 minutes.
  7. Myth: My friend had a colonoscopy, so should I get one too?
    Truth: Colonoscopy screening is recommended for men and women beginning at age 50, unless other risk factors exist. If you are younger than 50 but have other risk factors, such as a family history, obesity, smoking, ulcerative colitis or Chrohn’s disease, speak to your doctor about your screening needs.
  8. Myth: A polyp means I have cancer.
    Truth: Polyps are benign growths that if left unchecked have the potential to develop into cancer. Polyps can be easily removed during a colonoscopy with the colonoscope. By removing the polyp at an early stage, it is prevented from becoming cancerous.
  9. Myth: If I have colorectal cancer, it means I am dying.
    Truth: When colorectal cancer is caught early it has an over 90% survival rate. That’s why screening is so important. Once colorectal cancer spreads to a distant organ (metastases), the survival rate is dramatically reduced, but with new treatments and medications the chances of survival are increasing.
  10. Myth: After I have colon surgery I will need a colostomy bag.
    Truth: Surgical techniques have improved so that the cancer can be effectively removed without the need, in most cases, for a colostomy. A colostomy is where surgeons create an artificial external method to collect excrement.
  11. Myth: Physical activity is good only for the heart.
    Truth: Physical activity is associated with reduced risk of colorectal cancer. Even moderate physical activity can be beneficial.
  12. Myth: What I consume won’t affect my chances of getting colorectal cancer.
    Truth: Fruit, vegetables, and fiber are associated with lowered risk of colorectal cancer. There is some evidence of an association between colorectal cancer and red meat. Smoking and alcohol consumption is associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer. Aspirin and vitamin D are associated with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer.
  • #1 written by Bruce
    about 6 years ago

    Is virtual colonoscopy a dirty little secret ? In March 2008 the American Cancer Society accepted CTC as an “acceptable front-line screening” method but there is little mention of it. It works for me.

  • #2 written by Lynn
    about 5 years ago

    Just had a colonoscopy at the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert two days ago. The pain was excruciating. The pain of Natural child birth was nothing compared to this procedure. After the procedure the doctor was no where to be found and the nurse just spoke like there was nothing irregular in this instance. How do I go about finding out what happened and why I was in such horrible pain?

  • #3 written by John
    about 2 years ago

    As a 67 year old, in March 2014 I experienced a colonoscopy completely unsedated (my choice), which let me view what the doctor saw on a video screen I was facing. It hurt only a little bit, not seriously, and I found the tour of my interior quite interesting. I have a set of pictures of the highlights. The most unpleasant part was the preparation having to twice drink a purge solution to make sure my bowels were clean. Fortunately, the doc saw nothing remarkable and I am set for another decade or so. Well worth the time and trouble. Recommended as a step to prevent dying for a stupid reason.

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