Having a cousin or grandparent with colon cancer increases your risk

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By Steven ReinbergHealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Sep 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Colon cancer risk runs in families, and it’s not just one parent or sibling who had the disease that should be worrying.

If you have a second or third degree relative who developed colon cancer at a young age, your chances of developing the disease go up significantly, a new study shows.

First-degree relatives are parents, children, and siblings. Second-degree relatives are aunts, uncles, grandparents, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. Third degree relatives are first cousins, great-grandparents, and great-grandchildren.

“Our study provides new insights into the magnitude of the risk for more distant relatives of colon cancer cases, and particularly for relatives of cases diagnosed before 50 Health with the University at Buffalo (NY) School of Public Health and Health Professions.

“This work is important given the rising rates of early-stage colon cancer,” she said in a university press release. Researchers at the University at Buffalo and the University of Utah identified early-onset colon cancer as cases diagnosed before age 50.

First-degree relatives of someone diagnosed with early-onset colon cancer are six times more likely to develop colon cancer before age 50; Second-degree relatives are three times more likely, and third-degree relatives are about 1.5 times more likely, the investigators found.

For the study, they reviewed more than 1,500 early-onset colon cancer cases with the Utah Cancer Registry.

The researchers also found that people of any age are 2.6 times more likely to have colon cancer if they have a first-degree relative with early-onset colon cancer. And the risk is about twice as high for second-degree relatives and 1.3 times higher for third-degree relatives.

These results suggest that colonoscopy before age 50 can be beneficial for second degree relatives and possibly third degree relatives of someone with colon cancer, not just immediate family members.

The report was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology in August.

More information

For more information on colon cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.

SOURCE: University at Buffalo, press release, September 13, 2021

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