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Cancer Genetics

Family History of Colon Cancer

01/07/2008

Question:

I`m, a fairly healthy healthy 51 year old guy who does not get any regular medical checkups. I recently got a personal care physician, who did my first real annual physical in over 10 years and the question of "anyone in your family with cancer?" to which I answered no...my dad and sister both had colon cancer, which was treated and cured...I assumed that this question meant did anyone die from cancer, now I`m guessing that she meant did anyone "have" it. I think that I was subconsciously trying to delay the flex-sig exam that she had suggested sometime have her perform sometime in the future,and she said since I didn't have symptoms; it could wait, do I need to correct my family cancer history or does it only count if the family member dies from colon cancer? thanks

Answer:

The current recommendations are for someone like yourself with 2 first degree relatives with colon cancer to have a colonoscopy at age 40, so regardless of whether they died from cancer or not. So at age 51, you should get screened sooner than later.

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Response by:

Gregory S Cooper, MD Gregory S Cooper, MD
Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University