Colon Cancer Screening (cont.)
Dennis Lee, MD
Dennis Lee, MD
Dr. Lee was born in Shanghai, China, and received his college and medical training in the United States. He is fluent in English and three Chinese dialects. He graduated with chemistry departmental honors from Harvey Mudd College. He was appointed president of AOA society at UCLA School of Medicine. He underwent internal medicine residency and gastroenterology fellowship training at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.
In this Article
Who should consider genetic counseling and testing?
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Genetic counseling followed by genetic testing should be considered for individuals as well as their family members when there are:
Genetic testing without prior counseling is discouraged because of the extensive family education that is involved and the complicated nature of interpreting the test results.
Why is genetic counseling and testing important in hereditary colon cancer syndromes?
Genetic counseling and testing are important to identify patients and family members with hereditary colon cancer syndromes so that screening with flexible sigmoidoscopies and colonoscopies can begin early and, if necessary, the colon can be removed surgically to prevent colon cancer. Moreover, depending on which hereditary colon cancer syndrome is present, early screening for other types of cancer such as ovarian, uterine, stomach, ureter, and thyroid may be appropriate.
How is genetic testing conducted?
Within the family, the first person to undergo genetic testing usually is the person who clearly has the disease (e.g., with numerous colon polyps with or without colon cancer). If genetic testing of this family member reveals a mutation responsible for a hereditary colon cancer syndrome, then other family members can be tested for the same mutation. Those family members who do not carry the mutation can be assured that they have not inherited the syndrome, whereas those who have the mutation should begin early screening for colon and other cancers. Depending on which syndrome is present and the age of the patient, removal of the colon may be recommended.
Unfortunately, genetic testing that shows no known cancer syndrome does not necessarily mean that there is no cancer syndrome. Our current knowledge about colon cancer syndromes is imperfect and our ability to recognize them is incomplete, and there may be unrecognized syndromes that cannot yet be detected. Even if no cancer syndrome is identified by genetic testing, first-degree relatives of someone with colon cancer are still considered at increased risk for developing colon cancer themselves and should undergo early screening as directed by their physicians.
Viewers share their comments
Colon Cancer Screening - Testing Question: Do you participate in colon cancer screening? What kinds of tests do you have?
Colon Cancer Screening - Experience Question: What kinds of tests and exams did you have to screen for colon cancer? Please share your story.
Colon Cancer - Colonoscopy Question: Describe your colonoscopy experience, including removal of polyps and results.
Colon Cancer - Family History Question: If you have a family history of colon cancer, at what age did you get a colonoscopy? What was the result?