Knowing if your colon cancer is hereditary can help you understand how your cancer may affect your family members and your own health. It can also give you an idea of your risk for developing other cancers. Approximately five to ten percent of cases of colon cancer are hereditary. Some of the most common hereditary colon cancer syndromes include Lynch syndrome and Familial Adenomatous Polyposis. You may want to consider genetic counseling to determine your risk and seek early diagnosis.
While the term “hereditary” can be confusing, the fact is that most forms of cancer are non-hereditary. Hereditary colon cancer syndromes are conditions caused by genetic mutations and increase the risk of developing the cancer. The exact cause of colon cancer is unknown, but many factors play a role in its development.
In addition to genetics, environmental factors play a role in colon cancer risk. One study found that eating red meat increases the risk of colon cancer. APC is a gene that codes for a tumor suppressor protein. Normally, this protein controls the growth of cells. Nevertheless, mutations in APC can inhibit this function and increase the risk of colon cancer.
The second most common type of hereditary colorectal cancer is familial adenomatous polyposis, a condition that affects one in ten people. The symptoms of this disease include the growth of hundreds or thousands of polyps in the colon. Fortunately, many cases of familial adenomatous polyposid cancer are detected at an early age.
In addition to the family history, genetic testing can help identify the underlying causes of colon cancer. It can also help determine if a patient is at an increased risk for developing other cancers. Genetic testing may also help you make informed decisions about your personal colon cancer screening schedule. You and your family members should discuss these matters with your doctor.
If you or your family has a history of colorectal cancer, you should have an annual screening. It is advisable to begin screening earlier than the average person. In addition to having an annual screening, you should have a baseline upper endoscopy at age 35 to ensure that you are not at risk.
You may also be at risk of colon cancer if you are overweight. In order to reduce your risk of colon cancer, it is essential to remain physically active. The American Cancer Society recommends that you engage in 150 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity each week. Children and teenagers should get one hour of moderate activity each day. In addition, you should also reduce your sedentary habits.
Depending on the stage of your cancer, you may have to undergo surgery. Surgical treatment usually involves removing a portion of the colon and lymph nodes near it. Usually, this treatment is enough, but for patients with an increased risk of recurrence, they may need chemotherapy.