As genetic testing is becoming more prevalent and more women are being diagnosed with hereditary cancer syndromes, many are trying to assume some control over their genetic destinies. Some women with mutations such as Lynch syndrome or BRCA are undergoing prophylactic surgeries, which are done in order to prevent cancer from developing in specific body parts.
At the age of 40, I was diagnosed with Lynch syndrome; since I was at high risk for developing endometrial and ovarian cancer my genetic counselor recommended I remove my reproductive organs. In women with Lynch syndrome, cancer prefers to manifest in the reproductive organs first, then in the colon.
My family medical history includes colon and other cancers. My brother died at 36 from colon cancer ...
Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States when men and women are considered separately, and the second leading cause when both sexes are combined. It is expected to be responsible for 50,000 deaths in 2015 (http://www.cancer.org).
If you notice any changes in your bowel habits, abdominal pain, bleeding from the anus or weight loss, please do not ever ignore these symptoms — contact your doctor immediately as these may be symptoms of colorectal cancer.
Gastroenterologists recommend the following for colon cancer screening:
Age 50 for people who are not at increased risk of the disease
Age 45 for African Americans because they have an increased risk developing the disease