Colon Cancer Risk With No Family History

Last Modified: March 16, 2011


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

I heard if I do not have anyone in my family who has had colon cancer that I don't need to do the screening. Is that true?


Carmen E. Guerra, M.D., M.S., Associate Professor of Medicine at Penn Medicine, responds:

Even if you do not have a family history of colon or rectal cancer, you have a lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer that approximates 6%. Therefore, if you are over 50, you should undergo colorectal cancer screening with one of the guideline approved tests such as a stool test, a colonoscopy, a flexible sigmoidoscopy or CT colonography.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. See the full transcript of Advances in Colorectal Cancer Screening.