published Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Ask a doctor: Isn’t colon cancer genetic?

By Dr. Shauna Lorenzo-Rivero

Q: Isn’t colon cancer genetic?

A: Colorectal cancer is the second most-common cancer in the United States, striking 140,000 people annually and causing 60,000 deaths. That’s a staggering figure when you consider the disease is potentially curable if diagnosed in the early stages, typically with a colonoscopy. Colon cancer may run in some families, but in most cases there is no family history. Though it can occur at any age, more than 90 percent of the patients are over age 40, at which point the risk doubles every 10 years. Other high risk factors include a family history of colorectal cancer and polyps, and a personal history of ulcerative colitis, colon polyps or cancer of other organs, especially of the breast or uterus. Some genetic disorders increase the risk of colon cancer, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC). Physicians can test for these with blood or tissue samples from the first person diagnosed with colon cancer in a family, so that the other members can be tested and prevent colon cancer. Ask your colorectal surgeon or gastroenterologist for more details.

— Dr. Shauna Lorenzo-Rivero, colorectal surgeon, University Surgical Associates; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society

Readers: To submit a question for medical doctors, email it to Clint Cooper at ccoopertimesfreepress.com. See this space each week for answers.

Other National Articles

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement

Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.