After Chadwick Boseman’s tragic death from colon cancer, experts debunk 7 colonoscopy myths
“Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman’s death from colon cancer came as a tragic shock to his many fans.
Days before, several experts debunked common myths about colonoscopies, a treatment that can help prevent colon cancer and deaths from this common condition. The best way to know if a colonoscopy is right for you is to talk to your doctor.
Here are some of the most common myths — and truths — about colonoscopies as explained by Dr. Faris M. Murad, Dr. Kevin Liebovich and Dr. Jennifer Spanier-Stiasny, gastroenterology experts at Advocate Health Care.
Myth: I don’t want a colonoscopy because I have heard it is painful.
Truth: Patients undergoing colonoscopy are sedated and should feel no pain during the procedure. It is common to feel bloated and gassy after the exam.
Myth: I don’t want a colonoscopy because of the cost.
Truth: The Affordable Care Act mandates that all screening colonoscopies are fully covered by insurance beginning at age 50 for everyone with average risk. If you have a family history of colon or rectal cancer, talk to your doctor about whether you might benefit from earlier or more frequent screenings.
Myth: I don’t want a colonoscopy because I am afraid of the results.
Truth: The purpose of colonoscopy is to prevent colon cancer by removing asymptomatic precancerous polyps. As long as patients have no symptoms, this is a preventative exam and patients should not fear the results.
Myth: I don’t want a colonoscopy because I hear stool tests are easier.
Truth: Stool tests are only partially effective at screening for colon cancer and if abnormal, would results in a diagnostic colonoscopy. Colonoscopy is not only more accurate than stool tests, but is also the only way of preventing colon cancer
Myth: White men are most at-risk for colon cancer, so I don’t need to get one.
Truth: Wrong. Women get colon cancer almost as much as men and black Americans actually have a higher rate of colon cancer. Colon cancer is the 2nd deadliest cancer in the U.S., it is more than 90% preventable. Getting screened is your best chance to catch it early.
Myth: I don’t want a colonoscopy because the prep drink is unpleasant to drink.
Truth: The good news is that we have prep drinks that are lower in volume and more palatable.
Myth: I don’t want a colonoscopy because it is humiliating.
Truth: Thinking about colonoscopy might be unpleasant, but you can expect a private and respectful experience. Your care team will make you as comfortable as possible. As for the exam itself, it’s often done during so-called “twilight sleep,” or conscious sedation. With twilight sleep, 99% of patients are comfortable during the exam. Most people find that is much more pleasant than ever expected. Many people don’t even remember it all afterwards.
Ready to schedule your colonoscopy? With our Safe Care promise, we’ve taken extra steps to ensure your safety amidst COVID-19. Learn more and book an appointment today.
About the Author
Erica Noonan is a social media specialist for Advocate Aurora Health. She earned her BA in advertising and public relations. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, trying new sushi and binging the occasional Netflix series.