What is the hereditary bowel cancer?
Bowel cancer (also known as colorectal cancer) is the fourth most common cancer in the UK. Unfortunately 1 in 19 women and 1 in 14 men will develop bowel cancer during their lifetime, with most being diagnosed after the age of 50. This means that in the general population men have a 7% lifetime risk of developing bowel cancer and women have a 5% risk. Most bowel cancer occurs by chance, however 2-5% of bowel cancer is inherited and up to 30% is familial. In some families’ stomach, womb (endometrial or uterine) and ovarian cancer can also be genetically related to bowel cancer. In families where bowel cancer is hereditary it may be possible to find the genetic change (mutation) which is responsible for the cancers. This allows appropriate cancer screening and risk-reducing options to be offered to the family.