Reasons To Have Colon Cancer Screening — Even If You Don't Have Symptoms

The idea of colon cancer screening is not exactly a pleasant one. You have to drink a laxative beverage beforehand and be under sedation to have a colonoscopy, after all. As such, a lot of people shrug off their doctor's suggestion to undergo colon cancer screening, often with the excuse that they don't have any symptoms and therefore are not worried. The thing is: this is not a good excuse. Here are a few reasons colon cancer screening is important, even if you're not showing any symptoms of colon cancer.

You wouldn't expect to show symptoms until colon cancer is very serious.

Symptoms are not a great predictor of whether or not someone has colon cancer. Yes, patients with colon cancer do eventually develop symptoms like blood in the stools and difficulty defecating. But typically, these patients have had colon cancer for a while before they develop symptoms. Colon cancer screening is good at detecting cancer before the symptoms appear. As scary as it is to think about, you could have colon cancer and simply not be showing any symptoms yet. The screening will tell you for sure.

Colon cancer screening is not as unpleasant as you might be imagining.

Yes, drinking a laxative beverage and clearing out your digestive tract before a colonoscopy is a bit unpleasant. But the actual screening itself isn't nearly as uncomfortable or embarrassing as you're probably worried it will be. You'll be sedated before your doctor does anything, which means you won't be aware of the camera being inserted into your colon. While some doctors might show you the footage after your screening exam, you don't have to view this if doing so makes you uncomfortable. You can just wake up from the sedation, listen to what your doctor has to say about the results and go on with your day.

Colon cancer screening can turn up other problems, too.

While the colonoscopy is intended to screen for colon cancer, it also allows doctors to note other problems. For example, they may find some benign polyps in your colon that can eventually make it hard to defecate. They can remove these during the colonoscopy, preventing you from having to deal with the issue later on.

If your doctor is recommending colon cancer screening, adhere to their recommendation. Even if you don't have any symptoms. Waiting until actual digestive issues appear negates a lot of the benefits of early screening in the first place.