But about one in five people with colorectal cancer will have a close family link.
Getting to know that risk is important.
It may mean earlier or more frequent screening. It definitely means talking to your family, learning about Aunt Mary’s uterine cancer, Dad’s polyps, or Grandmother’s stomach problems when she was 35. It means telling them about your own cancer or polyps.
The National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable has a new website to help you search and share your family history with Family PLZ.
Family PLZ shows you how to put a family health history together and what to do with the information.
Some resources for compiling your family health history gathered by Family PLZ
- The Surgeon’s General’s My Family Health Portrait is an ideal tool to use at family gatherings to build a family health history.
- Genetic Alliance can help you assemble and print a personalized booklet Does It Run In the Family that you can share with your family and doctor.
- Mayo Clinic has tips for getting reluctant family members to share medical history, as well as what information to collect.
- Fight Colorectal Cancer has a list of questions to ask yourself to determine your risk for colorectal cancer.
What Does Your Risk Mean?
- Average risk people have about a 6 percent lifetime risk of getting colorectal cancer. That risk can double or go up as much as four times depending on how many relatives you have colorectal cancer, how close those relatives are to you, and their age when they were diagnosed according to a chart from the American Cancer Society.
- Everyone should be screened beginning at age 50, but family history may mean earlier or more frequent colonoscopy screening. The Colon Cancer Prevention Project has a detailed screening tip sheet that helps make screening plans, intended for doctors, but helpful for patients as well.
- For more information about inherited colorectal cancer which can significantly increase your risk watch Inherited Colorectal Cancer: Does It Run in Your Family, a Fight Colorectal Cancer webinar with Dr. Henry Lynch.