Does bowel cancer run in families?
Most people who develop bowel cancer don't have a strong history of it in the family.
The greatest single risk for developing bowel cancer is age. Our risk increases as we get older.
Other risk factors for bowel cancer include lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise
There are some families with a strong history of bowel cancer. This means :
1. One first degree relative who developed bowel cancer below the age of 45.
(A first degree relative is a parent, brother, sister, son or daughter.)
2. Two or more first degree relatives on the same side of the family with bowel cancer at any age.
Some types of bowel cancer that run in families can cause an increase in other types of cancers such as cancer of the womb, stomach, pancreas, ovary and kidney. So, if you have a relative with a bowel cancer and relatives on the same side of the family with these cancers, this may mean there is an inherited risk of cancer in your family.
If you think you might have a strong family history of bowel cancer, the first step is to talk to your G.P. If your risk is higher than average you may be referred to a bowel specialist to discuss whether you should have bowel screening. Screening may be used to help to discover cancer early when the chance of treating it successfully is high