A member of my family has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Am I at greater risk?
Children, siblings and parents of those with colorectal cancer are at a two to four times greater risk of getting colorectal cancer themselves, and need to start screening years earlier than the general population (a colonoscopy should be the first consideration in this case). Consult your doctor.
How can I assess my risk of colorectal cancer?
The Felix Burda Foundation has published this helpful self-assessment form.
Test your personal colorectal cancer risk
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a short procedure in which an optical camera is used to detect any signs of pre-cancerous polyps in the colon.
Why not just get a virtual colonoscopy?
If you are healthy, conventional colonoscopy is strongly suggested, and considered to be the gold standard. Virtual colonoscopies can also have some inherent disadvantages that should be considered:
- If polyps are discovered, a standard colonoscopy will be required anyways to remove them.
- Virtual colonoscopies are done by a CT scan; the long term radiation effects of mass screening with CT is not fully known.
- Unlike conventional colonoscopies, air will be injected in to the colon, which can cause mild to severe discomfort.
- Virtual colonoscopies are not as reliable in detecting polyps smaller than 6mm.
Why is getting a colonoscopy important?
A colonoscopy can detect pre-cancerous polyps and remove them, avoiding becoming a cancer patient in the first place.