According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if you have a family history of colorectal (colon) cancer, it can make you more likely to get colorectal cancer yourself; if you have family members who have had colon cancer or polyps, you are at a higher risk.
Colorectal cancer almost always develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. A screening test can find precancerous polyps to be removed before they turn into cancer. Treatment works best when colorectal cancer is diagnosed early.
Why is it Important to Know Your Family History and Ethnic Background?
Early screening might be proper for you if anyone in your immediate family has been diagnosed with polyps or colon cancer. Suppose the unfortunate situation arises in your family history; inform your primary physician and arrange to get a screening. The CDC recommends that you:
- Start screening at a younger age,
- Get screened more frequently,
- Use coloscopy only instead of other tests, and
- In some cases, have genetic counseling.
Suppose a close family member has been impacted with the diagnosis of colorectal cancer. Genetic counseling is advised if you have a parent, brother, sister, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, or nephews who have been diagnosed with this disease.
What is Lynch Syndrome?
One of the factors that cause colorectal cancer is Lynch Syndrome of which is a genetic condition. It is also referred to as hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, otherwise known as HNPCC. It contributes to 3% of colorectal cancers.
Lynch Syndrome affects younger people (before 50 years of age). Women are especially vulnerable because they are more likely to get endometrial (uterine) cancer and run a higher risk of ovarian cancer, stomach, liver, kidney, brain, and skin cancer.
Lynch syndrome is hereditary, thus meaning it is directly related to your genetics. Changes or mutations that are passed from parents to children, sisters, or brothers have a 50% (1 in 2) chance of having this condition. This can also trickle down the family bloodline. If you or a family member have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, the surgeon will send out a tissue sample from the time of surgery to be screened for Lynch syndrome. The results will provide information for you and allow your loved ones’ education to help future generations.
Wait! What about my ethnic background? As well as genetic history?
Rates by sex, race, and ethnicity follow to date as such:
Black males and females have a higher incidence and mortality rate than white, American Indian and Alaskan Natives, and Asian and Pacific Islander males and females. In addition, non-Hispanic males and females have higher incidence and mortality rates than Hispanic males and females, according to the CDC.
What is the Conclusion, Dr. Snow?
Unfortunately, colorectal cancer affects men and women of all racial and ethnic groups and is often found in people 50 years and older. The most beneficial thing you can do to prevent cancer is to obtain your screening. Thus, providing the removal of dangerous polyps, potentially preventing future cancers. Screening also detects cancers earlier when a person may be asymptomatic and when treatment is most effective. Although this illness is not always at the forefront of our brains due to our busy lives and the lack of symptoms, it is vital to your health. So far, we have learned that you need to see a doctor, and Dr. Jeffery Snow is renowned in his field if you experience one or more symptoms of colorectal cancer or if you have a family background that warrants early testing. If polyps are developing, you are at a higher risk, but it is not necessarily cancer.
Again, screening can save your life or those you love.
If you have any questions please call our office: (954) 237-1123