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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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Who is at Risk?

For the great majority of people, the major factor that increases a person's risk for colorectal cancer (CRC) is increasing age. Risk increases dramatically after age 50 years; 90% of all CRCs are diagnosed after this age. The history of CRC in a first-degree relative, especially if before the age of 55 years, roughly doubles the risk. Other risk factors are weaker than age and family history. People with inflammatory bowel disease have a much higher risk of CRC. A small percentage (<5%) of CRCs...

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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.
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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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