Webinar Wrap-Up – Family First – Genetic Syndromes by Heather Hampel

Patients, caregivers and family members use our webinars each month to learn more about the battle against colorectal cancer and find the news they need to stay informed. At Fight Colorectal Cancer, we believe that education empowers those affected by colorectal cancer to take control of their lives.

Below is Q&A with Heather Hampel, our presenter of the webinarFamily First: What You Need To Know About Genetic Testing, Family History & Colorectal Cancer.


Q&A with Heather

Q: I would like to know when my children need to start getting colonoscopies. (They’re 32 and 25). Also would like to know if there is any connection, at all, between an astrocytoma brain tumor and colon cancer.  Thank you.

HAMPEL: You can see glioblastoma brain tumors with colon cancer in Lynch syndrome.  I believe astrocytomas are in the same family as glioblastomas so there is a possibility of a connection. Recommendations on when children need to start colonoscopy will depend on which relatives has had colon cancer and their ages of diagnosis.


Q:  My brother and I have had colon cancer. My brother passed away from colon cancer 2 years ago. I had a resection 11 years ago and have a colonoscopy every 2 years. So far I am cancer free!  Thanks to my brother for warning me early.

HAMPEL: Has the family had genetic counseling or testing since 2 siblings have colon cancer?  Were either of them diagnosed under age 50?  If so, counseling and testing might be appropriate.


Q:  Advice for encouraging older sibling to get genetic testing?

HAMPEL: Depends on which relatives have had colon cancer and their ages of diagnosis, but there are some slides about this in the presentation. (view slides here).


Q: Very interested in this seminar for my daughter has Crohn’s disease, my husband has had cancer of the colon and his mother died from cancer of the colon.

HAMPEL: Your husband might benefit from genetic counseling as I’m assuming he was pretty young when he was diagnosed.


Q:  Should someone with Lynch that is diagnosed with colon cancer have a hemicolectomy or a total colectomy?

HAMPEL: Has a sub-total colectomy been proven to be superior to a hemi-colectomy?  They recommend a subtotal colectomy if someone knows they have Lynch syndrome prior to their colorectal cancer surgery, however, colonoscopy is effective in these individuals and sometimes quality of life is better with more colon left behind so this isn’t a hard, fast rule.


Q: Is there really a blood test for the sons & daughters of colon cancer survivor to have to see if they are carriers of the gene?

HAMPEL: Yes, although we prefer to start testing with an affected family member first if they are still living.  Negative results are less informative if you start testing with an unaffected family member because you don’t know if the family had Lynch syndrome in the first place.


Did you miss our webinar “Family First: What You Need To Know About Genetic Testing, Family History & Colorectal Cancer?” If so, click the following link to watch her presentation in our Webinar Archives. For more patient education and additional information, please watch our past webinars, browse through our resource library or contact the Resource Line at 1-877-427-2111.

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