Q. How does screening save lives?
A. Screening for colon cancer works in two ways: first, by finding cancers early when treatment is most effective and second, by finding growths (polyps) inside the colon and removing them before they become cancer.
Q. If screening works, why aren't more people doing it?
A. Screening compliance rates are influenced by many factors, not least of which are:
- lack of public awareness about colon cancer and of the benefits of regular screening
- inconsistent promotion of screening by medical care providers
- uncertainty among insurance providers and consumers about insurance benefits and limitations on covered benefits
- characteristics of the screening procedures (e.g., imperfect tests, negative attitudes towards the screening procedures)
- absence of social support for openly discussing and doing something about "the disease down there"
Q. Why remove polyps if they are benign?
A. Colon polyps are important, since some may turn into colon cancer over time. While not every colon polyp turns to cancer, it is felt that almost every colon cancer begins as a small non-cancerous polyp. Fortunately, during colonoscopy these polyps can be identified and removed or destroyed--thus preventing a possible colon cancer. If a polyp is large enough, tissue can be retrieved and sent for biopsy to determine the exact type of polyp.
Q. What are my options for screening?
A. Thousands of lives could be saved every year if people followed recommended screening guidelines. There are many options for screening methods – we recommend that you talk to your doctor about which test is right for you. Learn more about who should be screened and when.
Q. How can I find a screening facility or surgeon?
Please visit our Screening Resources page to find screening facilities or surgeons in your area. Our Screening Resources page also includes references to help you federally-funded or low-cost screening resources if you are uninsured.
Q. Who should I contact if I still have questions about colon cancer screening?
If you have questions about specific screening tests, who should be screened and when, or any other questions related to colon cancer screening, we encourage you talk with your doctor or call the Colon Cancer Alliance’s toll-free Helpline at (877) 422-2030.
- What to Expect During a Colonoscopy Video from the American College of Gastroenterology
This new educational video for GI patients, produced by the ACG Institute for Clinical Research and Education, underscores the lifesaving importance of colon screening by colonoscopy. The video reviews all clinical information regarding colonoscopy and urges viewers to follow all instructions from their health care providers.
- National Women’s Law Center Toolkit: Getting the Coverage You Deserve: What to Do If You Are Charged a Co-Pay or Deductible for a Preventive Service
Download Colonoscopy Guide: What to Expect, a free application.
Download your free copy of Colonoscopy for Dummies