Familial Colorectal Cancer

Last Modified: March 16, 2011

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Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

I was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 36, but have no family history of it. I am concerned for my 2 small children. When should my children start screening for colon cancer?

Answer

Carmen E. Guerra, M.D., M.S., Associate Professor of Medicine at Penn Medicine, responds:

Your young age at diagnosis is concerning for a familial or inherited predisposition for colorectal cancer. Currently, we can check for several colorectal cancer genetic syndromes, which include Lynch Syndrome [also called Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC)] and FAP. You should discuss with your physician whether these tests are appropriate for you and, if you have a genetic predisposition, consider discussing whether the tests are appropriate for your children. Screening recommendations will depend on whether your family is affected by these conditions.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. See the full transcript of Advances in Colorectal Cancer Screening.