The Basics

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 doctor. If your family health history shows that you could be at risk, your doctor may refer you for genetic counseling and genetic testing.

an exposed colon within a body