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How do I know if I am at high risk for colorectal cancer?

Some people have a higher risk of colorectal cancer. People at higher risk may need to be tested more often and at an earlier age than people with average risk. You may be at higher risk if you have:

  • a parent, sibling or child with colorectal cancer
  • a personal history of colorectal cancer
  • a personal history of non-cancerous (benign) polyps in the colon or rectum
  • inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
  • inherited conditions, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome (also called hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer, or HNPCC)
  • signs or symptoms of colorectal cancerYoung woman in discomfort sitting on her bed with an upset stomach.

Talk to your doctor about your risk. If you are at higher risk, you may need a personal plan for testing. This may include:

  • stool test (gFOBT or FIT)
  • genetic risk assessment, counselling and testing, if available
  • colonoscopy
  • flexible sigmoidoscopy

Find out more about risk factors for colorectal cancer.

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