My Dad had colon cancer in his 30's, what are my chances of getting it?

He claims he got it from his "work environment" and that F.A.P doesn’t run in our family, could he be lying and is there truth to what he said? he made it past the 5 year survival rate.


  • Denisedds

    I’m not sure what you mean by he made it past the 5 year survival rate. The five year survival rate is the percentage of people with the same cancer at the same stage who are alive 5 years after diagnosis, so anyone alive 5+ years has made it past the 5 year survival rate. With colon cancer that ranges from 100-5 %.

    People with a first degree relative with colon cancer are twice as likely to get colon cancer as a person with no family history. However, only 15% of all patients with a first degree relative with colon cancer actually get colon cancer themselves. So you can see your chances are still not great. It is recommend that if you have a first degree relative with colon cancer you start screening when you are 10 years younger than they were at diagnosis.

    It is impossible to say why he got colon cancer at such a young age. No one knows what causes cancer. However, when someone young gets an older persons cancer it is an indicator of a hereditary disease and there are more than just FAP, but they are rare. I could go into a whole boring explanation about gene mutations which would not matter to you. The point is to make sure your doctor knows your family history and you get a colonoscopy when you are 10 years younger than your dad. This test will give you and your doctor a wealth of information about your colon health and your doctor will be able to give you recommendations from there.

    EDIT: Cancer does not skip generations.

  • On 10% of cancer is hereditary, colon cancer is not one of them.

    Good luck

  • Carol

    Congrats to your dad on the five year survival that really great, for colon cancer, Your father may think he got his cancer from his job but most likely he doesn’t know if there was a family history or not because it can and will skip generations and he may not know if his family had it generations ago. I have a friend who adopted three children from the same family and they were not able to find a family history of colon cancer, all three of the kids got colon ca, when they were in their late teens and early twenties. They were all dead by the age of 23. So my advise to you is be very vigilant about your colon health. You would be very wise to have a colonoscopy now to be sure you don’t show signs of polyps or any other problems. Your doctor will advise as to how often you need to be followed up. But it turned out thier father’s story was much the same as yours.

  • David C

    There can be a hereditary link but no-one really knows. I think it is just one factor of many. You should have a diet with enough fibre and not too much red meat to improve your chances. With early detection there is now a high survival rate.
    P.S. I am not a doctor.

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