Is Bowel Cancer in Your Genes?
Bowel Cancer Australia has developed an infographic highlighting the most common genetic causes of bowel cancer.
Around 30 per cent of bowel cancer patients have a family history or genetic inheritance, both of which significantly increase a person’s risk of developing bowel cancer.
“Is Bowel Cancer in Your Genes?” serves as a timely reminder to talk to loved ones about family history and genetic risk factors.
An estimated 900 Australians diagnosed with bowel cancer each year will have an underlying genetic cause, yet some don’t realise it.
That's why we encourage all young Australians to get together with their loved ones and have a chat about their family health.
In families where there is a clear history of a genetic risk factor, screening is recommended from an earlier age than the general population.
On the other hand, anyone who is diagnosed with bowel cancer under the age of 50 could be harbouring a genetic inheritance without knowing it, and should also consider speaking to their doctor about genetic screening.
It is recommended that all bowel cancers be tested for mismatch repair deficiency as a means to identify one of the most common genetic causes, Lynch syndrome.
The most common genetic causes of bowel cancer are Lynch Syndrome and Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP).
Lynch Syndrome is caused by a change in a gene that normally functions to protect a person from getting cancer.
FAP is characterised by the presence of hundreds to thousands of adenomatous polyps in the large bowel of affected individuals, which often start in adolescence.
If left untreated, the risk of developing bowel cancer in Lynch patients is 70-90 per cent, while the risk in FAP patients is almost 100 per cent.
The infographic is available for download at 'Is Bowel Cancer In Your Genes? Factsheet'.
For further details visit our Genetic Inheritance webpage and read ‘Connect the bowel cancer dots to Lynch syndrome’.
If you have any questions about bowel cancer and family history or genetic inheritance, contact Bowel Cancer Australia's team of friendly Bowel Care Nurses.