There are two genes that account for a high risk of colon cancer, but how do you know if you should be tested to see if you have those genes?
Now, there's a new tool that should make it easier for doctors and their patients to figure that out. Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston have created a web-based questionnaire and they've tested it for accuracy. Their findings appear in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"You get the patient and their doctor to fill out a series of questions that are pretty straightforward and then get a number that tells them, well do you have a high likelihood of carrying a mutation or don't you. The risks of developing cancer if you carry a mutation in one of these genes are extraordinarily high. The risk of developing colon cancer is 60 to 80% and for a woman, the risk of developing uterine cancer is about 40 to 60 %," says Sapna Syngal, MD, MPH, with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
The questions on the website are about personal and family health history. The score tells you if you should consider getting a blood test to confirm your genetic risk. But Dr. Syngal says the genetic test doesn't mean you're going to get cancer, only that your risk if high. And hopefully with that information, doctors can watch for early signs and prevent that from ever happening.
If you would like to know more about this new web based program to find out if you should seek out genetic testing click here.