Dr. Dominique Howard Sheds Light On Common Misconceptions About Colon Cancer Prevention

Capital Digestive Care gastroenterologist, Dr. Dominique Howard, addressed some common misconceptions about colon cancer screening in a special supplement to the Washington Post. I’m too young to need colon cancer screening. Certain circumstances may put you at risk earlier than you think. Colonoscopy screening beginning at age 50 remains the preferred colorectal screening strategy by The American College of Gastroenterology. However, certain individuals and groups of individuals may need to begin screening earlier. Those with a family history of colon polyps or colorectal cancer, a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, as well as African Americans are at an increased risk and should talk to their doctor about an appropriate age to begin screening. I don’t have any symptoms, so I can’t have colon cancer. This is a common misconception. During the precursor polyp stage and even in early colon cancer there can be few, if any, symptoms. In later stages of colon cancer symptoms such as stool changes, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, anemia, and unexplained weight loss can develop. If you do experience these symptoms you may need to have a colonoscopy regardless of age and should consult your physician.