According to the American Cancer Society, over 50,000 deaths will occur due to colorectal cancer in 2018. The average lifetime risk for developing this condition is about 1 in 22 for men and 1 in 24 for women. The numbers are dropping thanks to better screening and early detection, but they are still high enough to be a serious concern.
- Approximately 5% to 10% of Colon Cancer Cases Are Hereditary
Approximately 5% to 10% of colon cancer cases are caused by genetics. That means a heritable mutation was passed on from parent to child.
- Genetic Testing is Available to Assess Your Hereditary Cancer Risk
Genetic testing can be done to assess your risk of developing hereditary colon cancer. You can undergo testing to check for MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, APC, MUTYH, and PMS2 mutations.
- Retesting is Recommended if Yours Was Done Before November 2004
If your genetic testing was done before November of 2004, you should retest. Improvements in testing methods allow us to detect mutations that were not detectable before then.
- Even with a Genetic Test, You Should Still Schedule Cancer Screenings
Even if you are not genetically predisposed to developing colon cancer, you should still undergo regular screenings. Other non-genetic factors like smoking, obesity, and dietary choices can raise your risk.
- Medications May Be Prescribed to Lower Cancer Risk
Your gastroenterologist may recommend a medication to help decrease your chances of a cancer diagnosis. Contact us to make an appointment to learn more about hereditary colon cancer risk management.