Colon (Colorectal) Cancer

Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer in men and women in the United States. Deaths from colorectal cancer have decreased with the use of colonoscopies and fecal occult blood tests, which check for blood in the stool.

About 5-10% of colon cancer is due to an inherited susceptibility. The most common cause of inherited colon cancer is due to Lynch syndrome. 2-3% of colon cancer is due to a gene mutation causing Lynch syndrome. Other inherited colon cancer syndromes may present with multiple colon polyps.

Risk factors for hereditary colon cancer include:

  • Colorectal cancer diagnosed before the age of 50
  • Multiple family members with colon cancer
  • Family history of uterine, ovarian, stomach, brain, bile duct, urinary tract, sebaceous adenomas and/or pancreatic cancer
  • Greater than 20 adenomatous polyps.

If you have a personal history of young colon cancer, multiple polyps or a strong family history of colorectal cancer, uterine or ovarian cancer, you should ask your doctor about a cancer risk assessment.


We do not inherit cancer – we can inherit an increased risk for cancer.