Screening rates for colorectal cancer remain relatively low. According to 2010 data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), colorectal cancer screening rate was 58.6% compared to 72.4% for breast cancer, and 83.0% for cervical cancer.
For those that qualify for screening but have not done so,
Here are 10 reasons to get screened for colorectal cancer:
1. Screening prevents colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer develops from pre-cancerous polyps. The detection and removal of pre-cancerous polyps during colonoscopy prevents the formation of colorectal cancer.
2. Screening detects early stage cancer. The next best thing to not having colorectal cancer is to have the colorectal cancer detected early. Cancer detected during routine screening is less advanced compared to cancer detected when you already have symptoms. A simple procedure may be all that is needed to remove the cancer without radiation or chemotherapy.
3. Screening saves lives. Death from colorectal cancer can be avoided when pre-cancerous polyps are removed or early colorectal cancer is detected and treated.
4. Screening options are many. There are several ways to screen for colorectal cancer including stool tests, special X-rays, virtual CT scan, flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy. Colonoscopy is the best test. However, any test is better than none.
5. 10 years before another screening. If you are an average-risk individual and your colonoscopy was normal, your next colonoscopy will be in 10 years. What other screening test gives you a 10 year break?
6. No co-pay for screening. The Affordable Care Act eliminates co-pays for preventive services including colorectal cancer screening. This removes another excuse for not getting screened. Unfortunately, you may have co-pay if a polyp is removed during your screening colonoscopy.
7. Screening may save your children and grandchildren lives. If pre-cancerous polyp or cancer is found in you, your children should start screening earlier. Also, the nature of your polyp or cancer may lead to the diagnosis of inherited forms of colorectal cancer like Lynch syndrome. This knowledge may save future generations from colorectal cancer.
8. Screening saves money. Colorectal cancer costs money. Surgery, chemotherapy, doctor’s visit and lost time from work are expensive.
9. Screening preserves quality of life. Colostomy bag, chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery impair quality of life. Screening can spare you from all of these.
10. Screening is Love. You are special. Your children, grandchildren, relatives, and friends want you around. Think of all the fun and memories yet to be made. Your loved ones would be glad you got screened.
Colorectal cancer is preventable. Get Screened!