More than 5400 people took part in a patient survey sponsored by the US-based Colon Cancer Alliance.
The survey dispelled concerns that the need for bowel preparation was what deterred people from seeking help. Just five per cent mentioned this as a problem.
The voluntary survey included patients, relatives and other members of the public.
The survey also showed that most cancer patients sought help of their own accord after experiencing bowel problems. These patients had not previously discussed cancer risk or screening with their physicians.
Gastroenterologist Dr Patricia Raymond, of Norfolk, Virginia, US, said: "Lack of awareness, concern about cost, and fear that the test may be uncomfortable or embarrassing are all common concerns.
"Patients should not allow misperceptions of the procedures to deter them from getting tested. Advances in screening, such as conscious sedation, now make colonoscopies more comfortable for the patient."
Colon Cancer Alliance chair Kevin Lewis said: "A surprising 64% of the respondents who had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer were first prompted to get tested because they were experiencing problems or noticed symptoms, not because their doctor suggested it based on age or other risk factors.
"That suggests that physicians need to talk more with their patients about risks for colorectal cancer, and patients need to ask their physicians about whether screening is appropriate for them. Public education and appropriate screening are the keys to reducing colorectal cancer incidence."
Report Copyright: Englemed Health News at http://www.internationalmedicalnews.com