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  1. Colorectal cancer is not preventable.
  • Not true. Colorectal cancer is preventable. Colorectal cancer can be prevented by knowing your family history, getting screened for colorectal cancer, and changing your lifestyle. Read 3 Ways to Prevent Colorectal Cancer.

2. Colorectal cancer only affects men.

3. Colorectal cancer only affects old people.

  • Not true. Colorectal cancer affects young people as well. In fact, colorectal cancer rates for young Americans have been rising.

4. Colorectal cancer is always symptomatic.

  • Not true. A person with colorectal cancer may have no symptoms at all. This is why screening for colorectal cancer is recommended in asymptomatic individuals.

5. Colorectal cancer always requires chemotherapy or radiation.

  • Not true. Cancer confined to the innermost layer of the colon (stage 0, carcinoma in situ) may be removed during colonoscopy. Early stage cancer confined to the colon wall may be removed during surgery without the need for chemotherapy or radiation. Chemotherapy or radiation is only needed for advanced stage colorectal cancer.

6. Colorectal cancer always leads to death.

  • Not true. Colorectal cancer can be successfully treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or a combination of these. Colorectal cancer is not a death sentence. There are many colorectal cancer survivors.

7. Colorectal cancer is most common in white Americans.

  • Not true. African Americans are more likely to develop colorectal cancer or die from colorectal cancer than any other racial or ethnic group.

8. Colorectal cancer is not hereditary.

  • Not true. There are several hereditary forms of colorectal cancer like Lynch syndrome and familial hereditary polyposis.

9. Colorectal cancer surgery always requires a colostomy.

  • Not true. Colorectal cancer surgery can be safely performed without the need for colostomy. The surgery may even be done through laparoscopy.

10. Colorectal cancer does not affect healthy people with regular bowel habits.

  • Not true. Healthy people or people with regular bowel habits may still have colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer screening is recommended for healthy individuals including those with regular bowel habits.