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Colon Cancer

Colon Cancer

06/23/2008

Question:

My father had colon cancer when he was 70 years old. My older brother went to our family doctor for a check up and told him next year when he turns 40 that he will get a colonoscopy because our father had colon cancer. When I went to him (I am a 34 year old female), he told me that because my dad had it when he was 70 years old, that I was not at a higher risk. Does colon cancer risk increase with age and is it more men than women? Would I need a colonoscopy when I turn 40?

Answer:

The recommendation is at age 40 or 10 years younger than the relative's age at diagnosis, which ever is earlier, so age 40 is correct for you and your brother. The risk is higher if the relative was diagnosed young, especially younger than 50. Although the rate is somewhat high in men, the actual number of cases is equal in men and women.

For more information:

Go to the Colon Cancer health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Gregory S Cooper, MD Gregory S Cooper, MD
Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University