Why People Don’t Get Screening Colonoscopies (We have heard them all.)

There are a number of reasons why people don’t want to get a colonoscopy – some people are worried about the procedure itself, some people don’t like doctors – the list goes on.

There are a few misconceptions about colonoscopy that we would like to take a moment to address and clear up. We do them everyday, so we know what we’re talking about.

Embarrassment: It is completely understandable to think that a colonoscopy is embarrassing, but the truth is, it is not. During the procedure, you are lying on a gurney, fully covered by a sheet, while the physician is examining the inner lining of your colon on a monitor. Each person in the procedure room is a trained professional who performs this procedure every day.

The Prep: You may have heard that the prep is awful, intolerable, the worst! The truth is, prep has come a long way and it’s really not so bad. Yes, you must clear your colon for the procedure to be successful, which means extra time spent in the loo. These days, there are preps that are very gentle on the system and much more easily tolerated. And after the procedure, you can reward yourself with your favorite foods!

Fear of the Results: Nobody, NOBODY, wants to receive a cancer diagnosis. Which is precisely why screening is so important. Wouldn’t you rather get the “your exam was clear, see you in 10 years” call rather than the alternative? Yes, yes you would! So, with a disease that is so highly preventable, why wouldn’t you get screened early? Seriously, by the time people develop symptoms, it is often late in the game. And the later it is discovered, generally the worse the diagnosis. Ignorance is not bliss.

Fear of Potential Complications: As with any medical procedure, there is a risk for complications. That said, colonoscopy is one of the safest procedures, and the risk for complications is extremely low. You can see how our practice has performed by checking out our 2017 Colonoscopy Quality Data.

Not Enough Time: The procedure itself takes about 30 minutes and you and your driver are in the center for approximately two and a half hours total. Then, you spend the rest of the day resting, have a bite to eat, and tomorrow you’re back to your regular activities. That sure beats months of colorectal cancer treatment, eh?

Cost: It is really important that you check with your insurance carrier on this one, but for many, a screening colonoscopy has zero out-of-pocket expense. Conversely, colon cancer treatment can cost tens of thousands of dollars and even a diagnostic colonoscopy (after symptoms or positive FIT/Cologuard test) may be costly. That math pretty much works itself out.