Bowel Cancer Screening

Post your questions here on bowel cancer here.

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by DisneyPrincess26 on Sat Apr 07, 2018 7:08 pm

Bowel Cancer Screening

My Dad was diagnosed with Crohns Disease in 2014 after having symptoms but the hospital later found he had advanced bowel cancer. He passed away with it in 2016. He was only 53 and he had not had any screening. I was told that it can be hereditary and was wondering if I can be screened because of this? If so at what age can I be screened?

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Dr Christopher Black
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by Dr Christopher Black on Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:44 pm

Re: Bowel Cancer Screening

Hi DisneyPrincess26,

I'm very sorry to hear about your dad.

You're right to say that bowel cancer can have a hereditary aspect, but this is quite complex. Screening of the relatives of someone with bowel cancer is sometimes advised, but this depends on several factors.

Striclty speaking, current UK guidelines suggest that if a person has one first degree relative (e.g. mother, father, brother, sister) affected by bowel cancer, unless that relative was under 50 years of age when they were diagnosed, then no extra screening is needed.

However, there are other important things to consider including:

1. If you have (or develop) certain bowel symptoms then colonoscopy might be advised regardless
2. Are there any other members of your family affected by bowel cancer as this could change the recommendation?
3. Are there any other types of cancer in your family history as some can be related to bowel cancer risk?
4. Your dad was very close to 50 years of age when he was diagnosed
5. If your dad's tumour was removed then sometimes genetic tests can be done on the tumour itself

I would suggest you discuss your questions with your GP. They may be able to refer you to the clinical genetics service who would be able to look in detail at your family history and other risk factors to provide you with a personalised assessment of your own risk, and make a recommendation about whether additional screening is recommended for you.

Kind regards,
Dr Christopher Black
Clinical Research Fellow in Gastroenterology, MBBS MRCP ... _black.php

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