Thank you for your question regarding the prevention of bowel cancer and detection when bowel cancer has been diagnosed in your family.
Once you know a family member has been diagnosed with bowel cancer it is important to screen early, to detect any possible signs of a polyp or possible cancer.
It is important once you know a family member has been diagnosed with bowel cancer to talk to your doctor about your risk of developing the disease.
Key information to tell your doctor/s is the age at which your family member was diagnosed and the relationship of the family member to you.
For example, you are considered to have a significant family history of bowel cancer if a close relative (parent, brother, sister or child) developed bowel cancer at a young age (under 55 years) or if more than one relative on the same side of your family has had bowel cancer. Your risk can increase by up to 6-fold.
If a close relative was diagnosed over 55 years of age your risk can double.
With regard to family history, the above information is all taken into account and your specialist will advise the most appropriate form of screening. For people with a family history, this is usually a colonoscopy.
It is recommended screening commence 10 years before your family members diagnosis age (if this is applicable) therefore, if it was your mother and she was diagnosed at 42, you would then be screened with a colonoscopy at the age of 32 and continue to have regular checks (possibly every 2 to 5 years) according to the recommendations from your referring specialist. If, however it is a sibling or close family member at a similar age, you should request to see a specialist for screening as soon as possible for early detection and to help minimise your risk.
Thank you also for the input from both Finni and Louise.
Louise, you are so right when you say your early screening can give you ‘peace of mind’ in giving you a base line of the health of your bowel.
Prevention, as Finni has acknowledged is coupled with a combination of both a healthy diet & lifestyle, minimising your alcohol intake, red meat intake, certainly not smoking, and knowing your genetic risk.
I hope this helps to answer your question.
Have a lovely day,
Bowel Cancer Australia Nurse Advisor
Please Note: Bowel Cancer Australia's Nurse and Nutritionist Advisory services are subject to the following disclaimer.
Report this post
You must be a HealthShare member to report this post.
to your account or
now (it's free).