Why should you know your family’s medical history?
People who have a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, or child) who has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer are at an increased risk of developing the disease themselves. That risk is even higher if the relative was diagnosed before the age of 45, or if there are multiple 1st degree relatives who have been diagnosed.
What is considered “family history” of colorectal cancer?
Family history is:
- A first-degree relative (parent, sibling, or child) who has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer
- two or more second-degree relatives (grandparent, aunt, uncle) with colorectal cancer
- people with genetically-based colon cancer syndromes in their family, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC)
If a family member was diagnosed with colon cancer, at what age should you start getting screened?
According to recommendations* from the American Cancer Society, you should get screened at age 40 or 10 years prior to the earliest case of colorectal cancer diagnosis in your first degree relative.