Genetics and your risk
What if you had a crystal ball that told whether you and your family are more likely to face colorectal cancer?
Unfortunately, we don’t have a crystal ball — or its medical equivalent — quite yet, but knowing about your family history and any hereditary genetic conditions can help you stay ahead of the game.
If you fall into the sporadic group, which means you have no family history of cancer or inherited genetic predisposition, you have about a one in 24 chance of getting colorectal cancer.
If you have familial risk, meaning an immediate family member has the disease, your lifetime risk increases to 10 to 20 percent.
Those who have the highest lifetime risk of colorectal cancer are in the hereditary subgroup. Depending on the particular genetic syndrome, the chances of getting colorectal cancer may be 30 to 100 percent.
What can I do after I know my genetic risk?
Screening is the most important thing you can do to prevent colorectal cancer because it finds cancer in the early stages. Talk to your healthcare provider about your personal genetic risks.
Talk to your familyExploring your family health history
Initiative aims to reduce stigma and educate about screening choices, as the Colorectal Cancer Alliance launches a health equity fund to decrease disparities.
On the horizon are blood tests that have shown the ability to detect a variety of cancers including colorectal and rare cancers. Though these tests are still in development and are not yet approved by the FDA, clinical trials have shown impressive results.
In February of 2022, John and Mary experienced the unimaginable. Their 36-year-old son, Jonathan, died of stage IV colon cancer. Though Jonathan had been dealing with ulcerative colitis from the time he was twelve, no one would have predicted this outcome twenty-four years later.