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Colon Cancer Genetic Testing - Should I Be Tested?

The decision to be tested for genetic colon cancer is personal. You may have emotional, financial, and family reasons for taking or not taking the test. Also, there is the possibility that if you do test positive, you may have difficulty getting life insurance, long-term care insurance, or disability insurance.

You might choose to be tested because:

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Understanding Colon Cancer -- Diagnosis and Treatment

Beginning at the age of 50, everyone should be screened regularly for colorectal cancer (earlier screening is recommended for some high-risk groups). There are several options. The traditional screening routine was for the doctor to perform a digital rectal exam once a year and for you to collect three stool samples to be tested for traces of blood. Also, every three to five years you would receive a sigmoidoscopy and a double-contrast barium enema to look at the lower part of the bowel. If anything...

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  • You have a family history of colon cancer. This means you have a parent, brother, sister, or child who has colon cancer, FAP, or HNPCC and they have tested positive for the abnormal gene.
  • You have a personal history of more than 20 colon polyps, especially at a young age.
  • You have received genetic counseling, understand the risks and benefits of testing, and feel that the benefits outweigh the risks. A genetic counselor can help you make well-informed decisions.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: August 27, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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