Hereditary colorectal cancer

About 5-10% of colorectal cancer cases are caused by hereditary mutations, which can be transmitted from parents to children.

Hereditary cancer syndromes are often discussed, not because they are frequent, but because they increase drastically the chance of developing the disease. 

Most mutations behind them are already known, and as a result, a genetic test  can be used to identify those affected.

A cancer syndrome or family cancer syndrome is when inherited mutation(s) cause a higher than average risk of developing certain types of cancer. The mutations are passed from parents to children. HPNCC and FAP are examples of hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes.

When an individual is born with a mutation associated with a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome, they are called ”carriers” (of the mutation). Carriers need to be regularly screened for the disease starting earlier than the age recommended for the general population.

Os médicos hoje reconhecem duas formas bem estabelecidas de cancro colorretal hereditário, que representam alguns, mas não todos, os casos hereditários: a polipose adenomatosa familiar (FAP) e o cancro colorretal hereditário não-poliposo (HNPCC), também conhecido por síndrome de Lynch.

This means, for example, doing colonoscopies or proctoscopies (endoscopy of the rectum and sigmoid colon) from a younger age, which varies according to the genetic syndrome.

The two main forms of hereditary colorectal cancer are: familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and non-polyposis hereditary colorectal cancer (HNPCC), also known as Lynch syndrome.

In FAP  surveillance can start at a very young age, and prevention is usually through prophylactic surgery because the risk of developing cancer is extremely high.

Learn more about the  genetic counseling clinic  that supports families with suspected hereditary colorectal cancer.

In the section  Cancer Biology  you can learn more about the biology of hereditary cancer.

Hereditary colorectal cancer accounts for only 5-6% of all diagnosed cases

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