ChristianaCare

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Genetic Consultation and Risk Assessment

Hereditary Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. About one in 18 Americans — both males and females — will develop colorectal cancer at some point in their lifetime.

Use this 3, 2, 1 tool to see if you are at high risk for colorectal cancer

Do you have?

3 or more relatives on the same side of your family with colorectal, endometrial, ovarian, gastric, urinary tract (kidney, bladder, ureter) glioblastoma,

2 or more relatives on the same side of your family with colon cancer with one being diagnosed under age 50

1 close relative who was diagnosed with:

  • Colon cancer at or before age 45.
  • Breast cancer at or before 50
  • Male breast cancer.
  • Ovarian cancer.
  • Pancreatic cancer.
  • Metastatic prostate cancer.

Or can you answer yes to 1 of these about yourself?

  • Colon cancer
  • Two primaries, colon and another cancer (colon, endometrial, ovarian, gastric, urinary track, pancreatic)
  • Breast cancer at or before age 50.
  • Triple negative breast cancer at or before age 60.
  • Bilateral or two primary breast cancers (same or both breasts).
  • Male breast cancer.
  • Ovarian cancer.
  • Pancreatic cancer.
  • Metastatic prostate cancer.
  • Are you of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry or has someone in your family been identified with a known hereditary cancer gene alteration.

Colorectal cancer begins as pre-cancerous growths called adenomatous polyps in the colon and rectum. Doctors are able to remove these polyps before they turn into cancer during a colonoscopy. Left untreated, these polyps can turn to cancer.

If you carry a mutation in one of the known hereditary colorectal cancer genes, you have an increased risk of developing colon cancer. Hereditary colorectal cancers are divided into two categories:

  • Polyposis (many polyps)

Familial Adenomatous Polyposis or FAP is an example of an inherited condition that causes hundreds of colon polyps and significantly increased the risk for colon cancer.

  • Nonpolyposis (not many polyps)

Lynch Syndrome (Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colorectal Cancer, or HNPCC) is an example of an inherited nonpolyposis syndrome. It  increases your risk for colon, ovarian, uterine and other cancers.

Genetic counseling and testing are available for individuals at risk for hereditary colorectal cancers. Learning about your risk now can help you prevent cancer from occurring, or allow you to detect it at its earliest, most treatable stage.

If your personal or family history indicates an elevated risk for breast or ovarian cancer, your doctor may recommend genetic testing to look for a genetic marker. Your ChristianaCare genetic counselor will help you consider treatment and lifestyle options to reduce your risks or diagnostic options to help you detect cancer at its earliest, most treatable stage. As part of your genetic consultation, your family history information is entered into Delaware’s high-risk family cancer registry where you can help scientists learn more about cancer patterns in our community and work toward new discoveries in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

If you answer yes to any of the above, then your personal or family history may indicate an elevated risk for colorectal cancer. Your doctor may recommend genetic consultation to further assess your family history and determine if genetic testing is an option for you or your family. Your ChristianaCare genetic counselor will help you consider treatment and lifestyle options to reduce your risks or diagnostic options to help you detect cancer at its earliest, most treatable stage.

Make an appointment today to complete your personal cancer risk assessment with a licensed genetic counselor. Call us at 302-623-4593, option 1, or toll-free at 1-800-811-8116.