Excerpts from a chat on colon cancer

James (Morton Grove, IL) – 12:30 PM:
I have family history of polyps but no colon cancer. My family has had several other types of cancer (brain, breast, non-smokers lung). Does this put me in the high-risk category?

Dr. Manoj Mehta
Yes. There are some cancer-family syndromes to be aware of. Breast cancer is fairly common, and of course has a genetic component. Non-smokers lung cancer is (as far as I know) usually related to radon exposure. Brain cancers, uterine cancers, endometrial cancers, thyroid cancers, and colon cancers can be clustered into cancer family syndromes with common genetics. You could have genetic counseling, which will assess your individual risk based on your exact family history. They can tell you what cancers you might be at risk for and propose screening guidelines unique to you. There is a Genetics Center at NorthShore University we refer to.

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