Find out your bowel cancer family history this July

Bowel Cancer Australia

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Gift giving get's serious this Christmas in July.
One of the joys of Christmas is the tradition of giving and receiving gifts. For Bowel Cancer Australia's Christmas in July, we're asking you to share a gift of knowledge that could potentially save the life of a loved one.
Bowel Cancer Australia community engagement manager Ms Claire Annear said our genetic make-up and family history of bowel cancer play a significant role in the risk of developing this common disease.
"About one quarter of all bowel cancer cases have some genetic component or shared family risk," she said.
"It's therefore extremely important for people with knowledge of bowel cancer in the family to share that information."
"Knowledge is power. People who understand they may be at an increased risk of bowel cancer can then choose appropriate screening whether that's earlier, more frequent or more intensive screening."
Bowel Cancer Australia is asking families who get together this weekend for a winter version of Christmas dinner to take a few minutes to discuss their health risks.
While bowel cancer isn't a normal dinner table topic, it's worth knowing whether mum, granddad or Uncle Ron had bowel cancer or numerous bowel polyps especially at an early age.
"Some people have specific genetic mutations that significantly increase their risk of bowel cancer. While these mutations are rare, the consequences are dramatic and screening for affected families sometimes starts in childhood," Ms Annear said.
The two most common inherited syndromes linked to bowel cancer include familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC; also known as Lynch syndrome).
Affected individuals have a 50 per cent chance of passing the syndrome onto their children.
"Even for people without one of these known mutations, a family history of bowel cancer can more than double your personal risk," she said.
For more information of family history risk visit Bowel Cancer Australia: Family History.
For further details and to get involved this July visit Bowel Cancer Australia's Christmas in July.
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