Colorectal Cancer

A clearer picture of risk of Colorectal & Uterine Cancer risk

Approximately 1 in 21 people will develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime. It is uncommon before the age of 40, and is slightly more common among men than women. Age and health history can affect the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Having relatives, especially first degree relatives such as parents, brothers, sisters or children with colorectal cancer significantly increases your risk of developing the disease. Your risk of developing colorectal cancer doubles if you have one close relative who is diagnosed with the disease.

Having family history of colorectal cancer may be due to an inherited genetic alteration. Only genetic testing for colorectal cancer can determine whether you have a genetic variant (mutation) that significantly increases your risk. The results of a genetic test can indicate which family members have inherited a change which is associated with an increased risk of cancer. This is important information, since it will affect your screening and prevention options, and indicate whether your children or siblings are at risk. Those family members who have the mutation will need to undergo more intensive screening and prevention efforts. Those who are free of the mutation will be able to follow the simpler cancer screening and prevention recommendations for the general public.

The alterations most commonly identified in hereditary conditions such as hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch Syndrome) and familial adenomatous polyposis and are within cancer susceptibility genes MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2, MYH, APC and EPCAM. In addition, for women carrying a change in one of the mismatch repair genes (MLH1, MSH2 or MSH6) the risk of contracting uterine cancer increases.

 

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