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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 Colorectal Cancer -- The Basics

Inside your abdominal cavity is the long, tubular digestive tract. The second part of this tube -- the large intestine -- is composed of the colon, which stretches 4 feet to 6 feet, and the rectum, which is only 4 inches to 6 inches long. The inner lining of this "colorectal tube" can be a fertile breeding ground for small tumors, called polyps (Figure 1). About a quarter of all adults in the U.S. older than age 50 will have at least one colorectal polyp. Most colorectal cancers develop from polyps...

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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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