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Do you know your family history?

Family history plays an important role in determining your cancer risk. About 1 in 4 colorectal cancer patients have a family history of colorectal cancer. Family history means any of the following are true:

  • At least one immediate family member (parent, brother, sister, child) was diagnosed under the age of 60.
  • Multiple second-degree relatives (grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.) were diagnosed with colorectal cancer or advanced polyps (risk increases if diagnosed before the age of 45).

These genetic factors also increase your lifetime risk of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer:

  • You have a cluster of family members diagnosed with colorectal cancer, referred to as familial colorectal cancer.
  • You inherit a harmful DNA mutation from a parent. This impacts approximately 5-7% of all colorectal cancer patients.

If family history increases your risk, your doctor will recommend earlier and more frequent screening. People with a family history of cancer should get screened at age 40 or 10 years before the youngest case in your immediate family, whichever is earlier.

Talk to your family and learn your family history. Then share that information with your doctor.

Want to learn more? Try this genetic risk quiz.

Inherited forms of colorectal cancer

If you have family members with a history of cancer, your doctor may recommend genetic testing and genetic counseling. A genetic counselor can help build a family tree to better understand your risk of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

About 5-7% of colorectal cancer patients inherited a gene mutation that greatly increased their lifetime risk. The most common types of hereditary colorectal cancer are Lynch syndrome, a subset of Lynch syndrome called Muir-Torre syndrome (MTS), MUTYH-associated polyposis syndrome (MAP syndrome), and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP).

It Runs in the Family: Colon Cancer Genetics

Do you know your family's health history? About 1 in 4 patients have a family history of colon cancer that could suggest a genetic and/or hereditary factor. In this webinar we cover everything from what it means to have a cancer family history to the importance of talking with your healthcare provider. 

What is FAP syndrome?

Learn more about familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), an inherited disorder characterized by cancer of the colon and rectum.

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