Family history of polyps significant factor in colorectal cancer

Written by Community Health Network on 11/2/2013 9:00:00 AM

(US News & World Report -- October 25, 2013) Cancer researchers at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah say even distant relatives have a higher colorectal cancer (CRC) risk, but up to 10 percent of CRCs are being missed by current colorectal cancer screening guidelines

Family history of adenomatous polyps is a significant risk factor for CRC. They analyzed 126,936 patients between the ages of 50 and 80. All had a colonoscopy screening: 43 percent had adenomas (polyps) and 4 percent had advanced adenomas.

Overall, the reported CRC risk is greatest for first-degree relatives (35-70%) who have polyps, but second and third-degree relatives also have a smaller but significant increased risk. 

"The biggest surprise was the percentage of missed cancers under the current guidelines. We figured there would be a few percent, but 10% is a large number,” said the study’s author Dr. N. Jewel Samadder. "Our results support the current screening guidelines, but they also raise the issue of whether some level of more aggressive screening should be considered, not only for first- degree relatives of patients with polyps diagnosed at or below age 60, but also for those first- degree relatives of patients diagnosed above age 60." 

(Source: Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah Oct. 22, 2013 news release; study published in the Cancer journal)

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