5 Myths About Colon Cancer and Colonoscopies


February 25th, 2022

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know that the  guidelines have changed? Experts now agree that starting at age 45, you should be getting screened for colon cancer every 10 years even if you have zero risk factors or family history. Colon cancer is the 2nd leading cause of Cancer death in the United States — and is one of the only cancers that is preventable, treatable and beatable when caught early!

As a patient of St. Joseph Hospital, your health is very important to us. Often, when we ask people why they haven’t been screened for colon cancer, the most common answer is “I didn’t know I needed to.” Unfortunately, many people wait far too long to get screened (usually when they start having symptoms) and by that time, it may be too late.

Our goal is simple:  

  1. We want you to know that as someone who is at least 45 years old, you should be scheduling a screening colonoscopy as soon as possible if you haven’t had one in the past 5 years
  2. We want to dispel a few common myths we often hear about colonoscopies
  3. We want to remind you that we have a phenomenal team of both male and female Gastroenterology providers

5 Myths About Colon Cancer and Colonoscopies:

  • “It’s going to hurt!” – FALSE. In fact, you likely won’t feel any pain as you’ll be completely sedated and to quote one of our patients “it’s the best nap I ever had!”
  • “My colonoscopy can wait until after the pandemic.” – FALSE. Colon cancer doesn’t care if there’s a pandemic. The longer you wait, the more difficult a precancerous polyp could be to treat and become a serious threat to your health.
  • “I don’t need a colonoscopy if I don’t have symptoms.” – FALSE. Colon cancer rarely produces symptoms. By the time you have symptoms, it may be too late.
  • “I’m a woman so I’m less likely to get colon cancer.” – FALSE.  Colon cancer is only slightly less prevalent in women and is the No. 2 cause of cancer deaths for men AND women in the U.S.
  • “Colon cancer can’t be prevented.”- FALSE.  If you start getting colonoscopies at age 45 (or earlier if you have family history and other risk factors), even the smallest precancerous polyps can be detected and painlessly removed before they turn into cancer.

Colonoscopy is the gold standard in identifying and treating early stage colon cancer, and at St. Joseph Hospital, our goal is to always provide you with the best possible care. Our team of gastroenterology experts will be by your side every step of the way to get you scheduled and treated as soon as possible.

To learn more visit St. Joseph Gastroenterology or to make an appointment, call us at 603.578.9363. Our office is located inside Suite 10 at St. Joseph Hospital Medical Arts West – 168 Kinsley Street in Nashua.