NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Colon Cancer, Version 1.2014
Part 3 discusses tests that are needed
to plan treatment. Some are used
to confirm the clinical stage of the
cancer. Others are used to know which
treatments would work best.
Medical and family history
To plan cancer treatment, your doctors will ask you
about any health events and medications you’ve taken
in your lifetime. This information is called a medical
history. A medical history helps your doctors know if
you can have surgery. It also helps doctors assess if
chemotherapy will do you more good than harm.
Since some health problems run in families, your
doctor will also ask about the medical history of your
blood relatives. It’s important to know who in your
family has had what diseases and at what ages the
diseases started. This information is called a family
Colon cancer often occurs for unknown reasons. But
some people have syndromes that increase their
chances of getting colon cancer. A syndrome is a
group of signs or symptoms that occur together and
suggest the presence of or risk for a disease. Some
syndromes that increase the risk for colon cancer are
inherited—passed down from parents to child.
also known as Lynch syndrome, is the most common
type of inherited syndrome to cause colon cancer. It
also increases the risk for other types of cancer. Even
so, only 3 to 5 out of 100 people with colon cancer
have Lynch syndrome.
olyposis) is a rare
inherited syndrome that often leads to colon cancer.
However, only 1 out of 100 people with colon cancer
have FAP. FAP starts with hundreds of polyps forming
in the colon and rectum. You are likely to have cancer
by age 50 if you have classic FAP. In attenuated FAP,
the start of the disease is later in life and fewer than
100 polyps develop.
If your doctors think you have an inherited syndrome,
you may be referred to a genetic counselor. A genetic
18 Medical and family history
19 Total colonscopy
20 Imaging tests
21 Blood tests
21 Molecular testing