Please verify your email address to receive email notifications.

Enter your email address

We have sent you a verification email. Please check your inbox and spam folder.

Unable to send verification, please refresh and try again later.

  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What age to get a colonoscopy when bowel cancer is in the family?

    My sister in law has bowel cancer in her family. She is only 30 years old, however her brother of 36 was recently diagnosed with bowel cancer (luckily it was caught early). When should she have colonoscopy?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1

    Thanks

    Dr Andrew Sutherland

    Colorectal Surgeon (Bowel)

    I am a specialist colorectal surgeon treating a range of bowel diseases and am committed to providing the best of care for all patients. It … View Profile

    For people with a history of bowel cancer in the family the current recommendation is to start screening with colonoscopy 10 years younger than the age of the youngest family member diagnosed with the disease.  So the answer is that she should have a colonoscopy now.

    Because of the young age that your brother in law was diagnosed with cancer his tumour should be tested for genetic mutations that may have caused the tumour to develop.  If a mutation is detected then the whole family should see a family cancer clinic to discuss testing other family members for the mutation.

    Finally it important to be sure that it was indeed a colorectal cancer.  Other cancers and tumours do occur but are less common.  Colonoscopy may not be a useful test for detecting some of these other tumours.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for your response Dr Sutherland. I will let her know about the colonoscopy and have sent her a copy of your response. Much appreciated and I hope it helps others in the community with a similar question.

  • Dr Andrew Sutherland

    Colorectal Surgeon (Bowel)

    I am a specialist colorectal surgeon treating a range of bowel diseases and am committed to providing the best of care for all patients. It … View Profile

    You are welcome.

  • 1

    Thanks

    Bowel Cancer Australia is the leading community-funded charity dedicated to prevention, early diagnosis, research, quality treatment and care for everyone affected by bowel cancer. We … View Profile

    Thank you very much for your question. We trust you have found the answers provided to be helpful.

    Should you be interested, and for others reading this question, further information on bowel cancer, risk factors and screening is available on the Bowel Cancer Australia website at:


    Kind Regards,
    The team at Bowel Cancer Australia
    www.bowelcanceraustralia.org


    Please Note: The information provided by Bowel Cancer Australia’s Nurse and Nutritionist Advisory Services is intended for Australian residents as a reference guide only.  It is not a substitute for independent professional advice and is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or disorder.
     
    If you believe your symptoms are consistent with those of bowel cancer or a digestive illness, please consult your doctor.
     
    Bowel Cancer Australia, its directors, officers or medical professionals shall not be liable to any person, company or any other body for any loss, direct or indirect or consequential on whatsoever account for any omission or negligent misstatement.

answer this question

You must be a Health Professional to answer this question. Log in or Sign up .

You may also like these related questions

Ask a health question

Empowering Australians to make better health choices