If you've been postponing your colorectal cancer screening, you could be putting your health at risk, especially if you haven't had a screening in a few years. According to statistics, there are more than 106,000 new cases of colon cancer, and nearly 45,000 new cases of rectal cancer every year in the United States. Both cancers can be detected through colorectal cancer screenings. You might not know this, but you should actually have your first colorectal cancer screening once you turn 45 years of age. If you've been postponing your cancer screening due to anxiety, read the information provided below. Here are four steps you can take to alleviate the anxiety.
Consider Your Screening Options
If you're anxious about undergoing a colonoscopy, it's time to consider the options. You might not realize this, but there are several screening tests that doctors can use to detect colorectal cancer. Some of those tests include fecal occult blood tests, virtual colonoscopies, and DNA stool testing. These tests do not require invasive measures, which can alleviate the anxiety caused by traditional colonoscopies. Talk to your doctor about the options that might be right for you.
Learn Self-Relaxation Techniques
If your doctor has recommended traditional colonoscopy screening for colorectal cancer, now's the time to learn self-help relaxation techniques. Relaxation techniques can help you relax and overcome the anxiety that can accompany traditional colonoscopies. One way to reduce anxiety is to practice relaxation breathing during the procedure. Another way is to utilize self-hypnosis during your colonoscopy.
Ask About Anti-Anxiety Medication
If you need to undergo a colonoscopy for your colorectal screening, and self-relaxation methods haven't worked in the past, talk to your doctor about anti-anxiety medications. If you're suffering from severe anxiety, your doctor might be able to prescribe a mild anti-anxiety medication that you can take prior to your appointment. This medication will allow you to relax and possibly sleep throughout your colonoscopy.
Avoid Lengthy Waiting Room Time
Finally, if you experience anxiety when it's time for your colorectal screening, make sure you minimize the wait time. If you're like most people, you like to arrive early for your medical appointments. Unfortunately, spending too much time in the waiting room can increase the anxiety you experience. To avoid that, check in at the desk and then get some fresh air. Be sure to let the receptionist know that you'll be outside. That way, they can call you in when it's time for the procedure.
If you need colon cancer screening, visit a medical professional near you.