7 Healthcast: Colon cancer
It's important to be screened for colon cancer.
"Unfortunately most people still aren't getting colonscopies when they need them, and there are certain people with family histories that need to be followed much more closely for colon cancer ," Dr. Sapna Syngal of Brigham & Women's/Dana Farber Cancer Center said.
And now Dr. Syngal has helped develop a new tool that can figure out a person's genetic risk for colon cancer.
"So what we've developed is a web-based program to help people evaluate their own person histories and family histories and to see if they're at a higher risk of carrying the mutation being one of the genes that are associated with colon cancer," Dr. Syngal said.
The program asks questions about your personal and family history. You get a score, and that score lets you know whether you should get a blood test to confirm the genetic risk.
"If you carry a gene, a mutation in one of these genes, your reported risk of developing colon cancer is 80 percent over a lifetime, so if you look at the average population, it's about 5 percent for colon cancer," Dr. Syngal said. "If you carry a mutation, you need to be screened every year."
Colon cancer is curable if you catch it early. Dr. Syngal's advice for preventing colon cancer is "know what your risks are, find out from your doctor when you should get screened based on your own history and your families history and get the screening test."
Dr. Syngal advises that a person fill out the questionnaire with their healthcare provider.
And it's important to note that just because a person carries the mutation, that doesn't mean they're going to get colon cancer. This study is in the Journal of the American Medical Association.Related links:
Dana Farber Cancer Center
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