8 myths about colon cancer

Colorectal cancer is a disease that for a long time and even today is still fraught with misunderstandings and false embarrassment. Many people still do not know that colorectal cancer can be prevented through early detection and, on the basis of this misunderstanding, do not go to the check-up. Others, in turn, avoid the screening because they believe they will inevitably have to die from a positive diagnosis of colorectal cancer. In addition, there are also women who do not take precautionary measures because they regard colorectal cancer as a male-specific disease that would not affect them. In addition to these few examples, there are still numerous myths in the population, the tend to colon cancer and the prevention of colorectal cancer and urgently need clarification. The most common myths will be discussed below and put right.

Myth 1: I can not do anything against colon cancer.

Reality: Colon cancer can be combated very effectively by prevention. The chances of recovery of colorectal cancer are between 90 to 100 percent when the cancer is detected in the early stages. Therefore, it is important to go for colorectal cancer screening and perform the recommended colonoscopy (colonoscopy) from the age of 55 years.

Individuals in whose family colorectal cancer or colon polyps (a precursor of colorectal cancer) have occurred, should talk to their family doctor and have their screening colonoscopy done earlier. As a rule, people with an increased inherited colorectal cancer risk should undergo colonoscopy for the first time ten years before the first finding of colorectal cancer or polyps within the family.

Myth 2: colon cancer? Only old people get that.

Reality: Many people believe that colon cancer can only be affected at a certain age. That's wrong! Unfortunately, colon cancer is hereditary and that's why more and more young people are affected. Almost 20, 000 people fall ill each year on their own due to their family disposition - often at a young age.

In total, around 60, 000 people are newly diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year, and nearly 26, 000 patients die as a result. A tragic number, considering that many tumors of this cancer take several years to reach a deadly level.

Myth 3: Colon cancer is "usually" deadly.

Reality: Colorectal cancer is the only cancer that is almost 100 percent preventable or curable by early detection. This is because this cancer forms precursors (called polyps). Only those polyps that are not yet cancerous at an early stage can develop malignant adenomas (the precursor of colorectal cancer). If these polyps are detected early in a colonoscopy, they can be removed directly during the examination (without surgery) and the examinee can be sure that the next few years to get no colon cancer.

If a colorectal cancer should be diagnosed during a reflection, it is statistically estimated that about 70 percent of colorectal cancers (colorectal cancer) are still in an early stage of cancer, in which the chances of recovery are still very good.

Myth 4: Especially men are affected by colon cancer!

Reality: In men, adenomas or carcinomas are found earlier and more frequently than in women. Since men also rarely and only later take precautions, colon cancer in men is discovered only at a high age, which is why men die on average younger on colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer occurs on average in men at 69 and in women at only 75. Men are more at risk of colorectal cancer than women.

Men are more affected by additional risk factors such as smoking, alcohol and obesity, but they are at a higher risk for colorectal cancer because they are less likely to benefit from preventive care than women. This is primarily due to their health and body awareness. Men generally go to the doctor later than women. When there are no signs of illness, men often do not go to the doctor. In addition to their lower health awareness compared to women, men also often have a pronounced functional body awareness.

Conclusion: Men need to be aware of their increased risk of colorectal cancer and make greater use of care. As a family health manager, women should be more motivated to provide care for their husbands - and, of course, take precautions themselves!

Myth 5: The virtual colonoscopy can replace the conventional colonoscopy.

Reality: The virtual colonoscopy (for example by means of computed tomography or magnetic resonance method) can not completely replace the conventional colonoscopy, also called colonoscopy. However, it can be considered as an alternative method, since larger polyps are reliably detected and the method is usually perceived as more pleasant. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the image quality of the images is not yet good enough to detect the smallest (less than eight millimeters) and shallow changes on the intestinal mucosa.

In addition, there are always false impressions (artifacts) in the pictures, because the intestine moves during the examination, even if the patient is meanwhile quite calm. In addition, a polyp can only be removed in a conventional colonoscopy, even if it is discovered in a virtual colonoscopy. In addition, the costs of a virtual colonoscopy are usually not borne by the health insurance.

Myth 6: The stool blood test can replace the colonoscopy.

Reality: An annual stool blood test is very useful to detect occult (hidden) blood in the intestine, on the other hand, the colorectal cancer can still go undetected, because polyps, which may be the precursors of colorectal cancer bleed at intervals, that is not continuous. Therefore, any positive stool blood test must be confirmed by a colonoscopy to be sure that there are no polyps or other diseases.

A repeated testing, for example, until a negative result is obtained, must never happen. This is explicitly stated in the medical guidelines. Only a colonoscopy can offer real security.

Myth 7: A colonoscopy is necessary only for symptoms.

Reality: Because the symptoms of colorectal cancer are often hidden, it is very important to have a regular reflection without any symptoms. Colon cancer can only be detected in time within the framework of a regular check-up. The safest method of detecting colorectal carcinoma is colonoscopy. Most new colorectal cancer cases are diagnosed in people over the age of 55 who have no known risk factors for the disease. Therefore, colonoscopy is recommended for people without familial risk only every ten years from the age of 55.

If there has already been a diagnosis of colorectal cancer, polyps or chronic inflammatory bowel disease in the family, it should be taken before the age of 55 for precaution. As a rule, people with an increased inherited colorectal cancer risk should undergo colonoscopy for the first time ten years before the first finding of colorectal cancer or polyps within the family. Talk to your doctor about it!

Myth 8: I have to go to colonoscopy annually.

Reality: For people without a familial risk, a colonoscopy is only necessary every 10 years from the age of 55. The costs are covered by the health insurance. In the meantime one can assume that one does not suffer from colorectal cancer. However, this only applies if the finding is negative in the previous reflection.

For people who have been found and removed from polyps, as well as people with a hereditary risk, the investigation periods are shorter. These may vary between two and six years, depending on the diagnosis.

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