What if I Have a Family History of Colon Cancer?

Family history of colon cancer and screening guidelines explained.

family history of colon cancerMany who have a loved one with colon cancer wonder what their risk level is. It is no secret that if you have a family history of colon cancer you should be screened early and often. However, many people aren’t sure if they are the right age or are just scared of what a colonoscopy might entail. Some people are scared that maybe cancer will  be found and avoid screening at all costs. Reasons like these are why early screening is such a big part of most colon cancer awareness efforts. Often, people just don’t know that colon cancer doesn’t have many symptoms until it is in advanced stages.

That said, colon cancer is often much more than just a hereditary disease and many people are at a greater risk without even knowing. Dr. Jeffrey Weber talks more about screening guidelines for those with a family history of colon cancer below:

Jeffrey Weber MD:  Having a family history of colorectal cancer, particularly in a first degree relative such as a parent or sibling, changes the way we screen people.

Colon cancer as a genetically inherited disease, at least as far as we are able to understand it in 2013, is a very small percentage of the cancers that are found today.  About 2% of colon cancer patients are in what we call colon cancer family with syndromes causing polypoid disease and ultimately an increased rate of cancer.  However, it is also known that if you have a family history of colon cancer, your risk is greater.  So, we generally start screening people with a family history of colon cancer either at age 50 or at 10 years before your relative was diagnosed if that occurs before the age of 50.  It is those patients who have a family history who are most predictably at risk for colon cancer and who need to be followed most carefully.

Dr. Jeffrey Weber
Dr. Jeffrey Weber, Chief of Medicine at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) at Western Regional Medical Center, earned a medical degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he also earned a bachelor’s degree. Following medical school, Dr. Weber completed both an internship and residency in internal medicine at the Georgetown Division of the District of Columbia General Hospital in Washington, D.C. He then moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and completed a fellowship in gastroenterology at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Dr. Jeffrey Weber

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