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Am I more at Risk?

Amystery1975
Posts: 29
Joined: Jul 2004

If there is colon cancer in my family (my dad) does that mean I am more at risk to get colon cancer or all cancer. My doctor told me that I am only more at risk to develop colon but as for the other cancers, I am as much at risk as anyone else. You thoughts/comments would be appreciated.

Thanks

nettie4
Posts: 145
Joined: Mar 2004

hello there. i can understand why you have a lot of fears about cancer, but while they may be just that fear it is good to ask questions. i think your doc is right in telling you that you r at a high risk to get colon cancer since your primary parent has it. other cancers that r known to be related to colon if you have a family history of breast, ovarian, and i believe uterin. as far as that goes be more focused on what you know could potentially happen and keep on top of that instead of clouding your mind with what ifs. it is great you are seeking knowledge, but sometimes it can serve us in a negative way especially in your case when you are already worried about your dad. i dont know how old you are but i hope you have gone in and had a colonoscopy or will be doing so. hope this puts the matter at some peace for you in the meantime take care of you and remember today has enough worry of its own and does not add one hour to your life so be at peace. prayers for you and your family.

sincerely
nettie

kangatoo's picture
kangatoo
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Hi Amy--there are others here that have researched the "genetical " side of cancer risks and maybe they can enlighten you on some facts and/or figures.
From my point of view I tend to go the way of genetically inherited although of course there is much speculation.As far as colon cancer is concerned I have been told by my surgeon that my 3 children(all adults now) should certainly be checked for any cancer--mainly thru a colonoscopy and certainly before they reach 40 y/o.(they are all just under 20 now)
As far as my family history goes; my mum died from brain cancer; my dad from kidney failure/heart failure.So in my view it is possible that genetics from my mums side has caused my cancer--but that is still only my view.As far as you are concerned--if I were you I would most certainly ask my gp for a colonoscopy at reasonable intervals to be on the safe side.
My mother did have polyps(bowel) also which "can" grow into malignant cancers.
I am convinced that prevention is better than cure--check with your gp--for your own peace of mind!
kindest regards, kanga n Jen

jana11
Posts: 708
Joined: May 2004

Hi. I am a rectal cancer survivor, and a primary care doctor. What I tell my patients is that if they have a parent with colon cancer, they need to start getting colonoscopy at least 10 years before the age their parent was diagnosed. Yes, you are at higher risk for colon cancer, but normal risk for other cancers, unless you have other risk factors (like smoking, etc.)

I know you must be soooo scared. Be an educated patient. Never let something slip by. If you have questions - talk to your doctor and hit the internet. Try not to drive yourself crazy. Eat a healthy diet with lots of fiber, exercise, and remember to smile.

jana

steved
Posts: 836
Joined: Apr 2004

What people have said above is very accurate- the main risk is of colon cancer cancer. The stats are that if you have a first degree relative with onset after 45 you have a 1/17 chance of developing it. If it is a first degree relative with onset before 45 the risk is 1/10. As jana11 says the main recommnedation is to have a colonoscopy around 10 years younger than the age of onset.

With respect to other cancers teh links aren't as strong. There is a genetic condition called hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC) that does run in families but is mainly related to early onset (before 45) which increases your risk up to around 80% for colon cancer but also increases others like ovarian cancer. If your dad is older then this is unlikely to be the case.

Best advise is to get checked out for piece of mind, live generally healthily with a good diet and enjoy every day! Don't get fixated on teh what-ifs; life is too short for that!

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