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Digestive Diseases

Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas

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Hereditary Gastrointestinal Cancer Risk 

Are you interested in learning more about your personal risk of developing colorectal (colon or rectal) cancer. 

The large intestine, also known as the colon, absorbs water and undigested food, storing it until the material is moved to the outside of the body in the form of stool.

Colorectal polyps are growths found in the colon or rectum. Not all polyps become cancer, but some polyps can develop into cancer. Colorectal cancer involves abnormal cell growth in any part of the colon or rectum that has the potential of metastasizing or traveling to other organs in the body.

Who is at Risk?

You May be at Risk for Colorectal Cancer if You Have the Following Risk Factors:
  • A family or personal history of colorectal cancer before age 50
  • A family or personal history of colorectal polyps
  • A family or personal history of endometrial (uterine) cancer before age 50
  • A family or personal history of stomach (gastric), kidney or urinary tract, or brain cancer
  • A family member who has tested positive for a genetic mutation (APC, MYH, MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, or PMS2)

Why Should I Have Genetic Testing?

All people have genes passed from parent to child that contribute to visible traits such as eye or hair color. Medical science now studies genes that can result in less visible traits, which may place a person at higher risk for developing diseases such as colorectal cancer.