Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Young Survivors Week: Know your family history and genetic risk

The theme of today is: Know your family history and genetic risk

Bowel Cancer Australia say:

Around 25 per cent of patients have a family history or genetic inheritance, both of which significantly increase a person’s risk of developing bowel cancer.

Young Survivors Week is a good time to bring up the subject with loved ones and learn about your family history and genetic risk factors.

An estimated 900 Australians diagnosed with bowel cancer each year will have an underlying genetic cause, yet some don’t realise it. In families where there is a clear history of a genetic risk factor, screening is recommended from an earlier age than the general population.

On the other hand, anyone who is diagnosed with bowel cancer under the age of 50 could be harbouring a genetic inheritance without knowing it, and should also consider speaking to their doctor about genetic screening.

The most common genetic causes of bowel cancer are Lynch Syndrome and Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP).

Felicity says:

Firstly - a Shout Out to my lovely family. I'm not always the best in keeping in touch. OK that's an understatement. Luckily my family are very lovely and understanding!

But here's a tip. If you haven't spoken to a family member for far too long - when you do get back in touch with them, it's nice if it isn't to say - "Hello, as I've been diagnosed with bowel cancer I'm having genetic screening and it would be really great if you could let me know in advance if you've ever had any cancer diagnoses. Oh and you may have increased risk now as you're related to me".

There is a still a lot of stigma around ill health. While it is of course it's ones own personal matter, and privacy and confidentiality are very important and should be respected, this experience taught me that it can also be a really good thing to share! It also reminded me that I should talk to my rellies more often (which I already knew). I would suggest, that anytime that you find yourself being diagnosed with an illness, don't forget to include in your questions - 
  • Are any of my family at risk? And if so - Who? And what steps should they take?
So my advice today is - stay in touch! It's good for your health and it's great for your well-being :)

Oh, I suppose I should let you all have a picture today:

Me and my awesome sister in Manly Beach in 2013

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