Hi. My grandmother had colon cancer twice and had a lot of colon cut out of her each time. Fortunately, she didn't get it again after that. I was wondering, though, if this could be heriditary?
The reason I ask is because I started having problems with my gut about a year ago, well, probably sooner but I didn't get any symptoms until last year. They found that I had a mass in my small intestines that was causing some constriction and pain and it was removed last August. It wasn't cancerous, just a fibrous mass with ulceration nearby. I had a colonoscopy and endoscopy in January that showed a non-cancerous polyp that they removed and a lot of ulcers and inflamationin my intestines. I also had some gastritis in my stomach. I had H-Pylori before the surgery last year that they cleared up so I don't know if that caused some of this.
They still seemed unsure whether I had Crohns or not. I don't know why that would be so hard to diagnose. I guess the pathologist from the surgery felt it was Crohns but the Gastroenterologist who did my colonoscopy didn't see Crohns. They still treated me with Entecort and Nexium for three months and then tapered off it.
For the most part, I've felt pretty good but still get a lot of gastro upset.
Can the fact that my grandmother had colon cancer and the fact that I've had some problems with my gut make me more susceptible to colon cancer?
I guess I've just been thinking about it more with all the problems I've had and then we had a friend from church who just died this week from colon cancer and he was 59! I'm 43 and a little scared of this. My mom said colon cancer can be nasty. She said she just lost a friend to it this year too.
Are my odds higher now because of my grandmother and my own problems?
I appreciate you hearing me out. Thank you. I look forward to hearing back from anyone who can give me a few answers.
YES, colon cancer can be heriditary. My dad died from colon cancer when I was 8. When I was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer at age 46, I did some detective work and discovered that I am the 4th generation of my family to have this disease. (My father, grandmother and great-grandfather all died from colon cancer!) I should have been screened for colon cancer from an early age. As it was, I had a long difficult battle, but thanks to excellent care and giving it the fight of my life, I have been cancer free for almost 4 years now.
Colon cancer is very nasty. But it is preventable and curable. Keep up your cancer screenings. Learn about the risks and symptoms. Contact the Colon Cancer Alliance for good information about screening and prevention. Knowledge and information are the weapons we need to save us. Keep testing and good luck.
I'm not a doctor so I can't really tell you about your specific risk. Members of the intervening generation could have undetected cancer. I would keep on top of screening tests. Make sure your doctors are aware of your history and follow their advice.
Colon cancer is preventable, so keep getting tested.
It is preventable to a large degree with testing and early detection, and certainly some cancers are related to diet and may be aggravated by poor diet and nutrition. There is, however, a form of colon cancer that is inherited and while diet may play a role in its pathology, some people will be genetically predisposed to develop tumors in the colon.
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