About Hereditary Colorectal (Colon) Cancer

Key points

  • If you have family health history of colorectal (colon) cancer, you may be more likely to get it yourself.
  • Collecting your family health history and sharing this information with your healthcare provider can help you find out if you’re at higher risk. If so, you can take steps to lower your risk.
Rectum or colorectal cancer with organs and cancerous cells 3D rendering illustration with male body. Anatomy, oncology, bowels or intestinal disease, medical, biology, science, healthcare concepts.


Each year, over 140,000 people in the United States learn that they have colorectal (colon) cancer. While most of these cancers happen by chance, some are hereditary, meaning that they are caused by genetic changes (mutations) being passed down in families.

Effective medical options are available if you are at risk for hereditary colorectal cancer that can make you less likely to get cancer. Because of this, you should learn your family health history to know if you could be at risk for hereditary colorectal cancer and share this information with your healthcare provider. If your family health history shows that you could be at risk, your healthcare provider may refer you for genetic counseling and genetic testing.