Are my Kids at Risk for Colon Cancer?

Last Modified: May 8, 2012


I am 43 years old and was recently diagnosed with stage III colon cancer. Are my kids or other family members at risk for colon cancer since I am so young? How do I know if they should have genetic testing?


Liz Prechtel-Dunphy, Oncology Nurse Practitioner at Penn Medicine responds:

Being diagnosed with colon cancer at a young age does place your children and siblings at a higher risk of developing colon cancer. Genetic counseling would be recommended for your siblings and children. You can discuss with your oncologist a referral for genetic counseling. There is a GI Cancer Risk Assessment program at the University of Pennsylvania or you can locate one in your area at the National Society of Genetic Counselors website:

Your children should start screening at an earlier age than the general population. It is recommended that they start screening 10 years earlier than when you were diagnosed, for example at age 33.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire transcript from the Focus on GI Cancers webchat.