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Does rectal cancer run in families?

Rectal cancer can run in families. It can be caused by specific genetic disorders, which account for 5% of colon cancers. These include the following conditions: familial adenomatous polyposis and hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer. Genetic predisposition, meaning there is no specific gene mutation identified, but there is a family history of colon cancer, also increases one's risk of developing colon cancer twofold.

Sometimes, the cancer happens without it happening to others in your family.

Your risk for rectal cancer may be greater if close family members have had the disease. This may be due in part to genetics and in part to shared exposure to certain environmental factors, such as diet or cancer-causing agents. Some disorders that often lead to rectal cancer, such as lynch syndrome, are inherited. Be sure to tell your doctor if a family member has lynch syndrome or colorectal cancer so that you can determine how frequently you should be screened for the disease.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.