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Procrastination and Colorectal Cancer Screening

Did you know that procrastination is the leading barrier to colorectal cancer screening for most adults? Men and women age 50 years of age and older who are at average risk for colorectal cancer are recommended to be screened regularly, but many will put off screening for years. The most common reasons for procrastination include being too busy, being worried about screening preparation, and being fearful of the test results.

Overcoming procrastination is not easy, but there are things people can do to motivate themselves and others to get screened. If you are a healthcare provider, focus on the “why” of screening when communicating with patients. Show individuals why they should get screened by connecting screening to the things that are most important to them, such as friends, family, or lifestyle. It is also important that healthcare providers emphasize how important, easy, and accessible screening can be. For example, at-home screening tests are available as alternates to a colonoscopy.

Planning for a colorectal cancer screening test can feel overwhelming. Identifying a series of small tasks can help the process feel more manageable. Here are some tips to help you avoid procrastination:

1. Schedule a doctor’s appointment to talk to your doctor about screening.

2. Create a to-do list of the everyday tasks you need to complete before your next doctor’s appointment.

3. Be realistic about your timelines so you do not have to reschedule activities and appointments.

4. Ask for help from your support system during screening appointments.

It is easy to prioritize other life demands over the need for screening, but remember that colon cancer screening saves lives. Those who procrastinate getting screened run the risk of developing colorectal cancer without catching it early. Don’t delay and get screened today!

For more information about The Georgia Colon Cancer Prevention Project, visit

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