Bowel cancer screening(20 Posts)
As my DF died from bowel cancer I was thinking of buying a kit from Boots - maybe do a test each year. However they're £34.99 and money is tight.
AIBU to think i may be able to get this test done via my GP even though I've got no symptoms or hisitory (apart from family history with DF) and am mid 50s?
You will automatically get a test at 60.
But if you are worried why not ask your GP?
See your GP, you should be offered screening on the NHS because of your family history. Usually they recommend screening to begin around 10 years before the age your parent was when they had bowel cancer. My DF and my husband's DF both had bowel cancer in their 50s, so my DH and I have both had screening in our 40s and will continue to do so.
My mother died of bowel cancer in her sixties. I am early fifties and when I asked the doctor whether I should have extra screening was told no. They said that if I had any symptoms or more than one close relative with the disease then I would have an increased risk which should be monitored, but not as things are. Do these things vary according to where you live (postcode lottery) I wonder?
If you have any of the symptoms, and it includes the more subtle ones e.g. Change in bowel movement for more than two weeks with family history, they will do it whatever your age. As happened in my family there were very few symptoms before diagnosis and GPs offered it to anyone who was concerned about it.
I have used the kit from Boots, though I didn't spend that much - it was being discontinued in the store and cost a fraction of the price. All it does is look for blood, it's quite fiddly to do AND you only get one chance so if something goes wrong it doesn't do the reading and youve wasted your money. It doesn't actually tell you anything more then yes or no to blood and cannot for example distinguish between bowel blood or period so it's possible to get a false positive (if your periods aren't regular or heavy) and as you only take a small bit can get false negative as well. When I discussed it with my GP they said best not to waste money and she'll get it done.
Speak to your GP they should be able to help you with this.
Sorry about your DF
Just to add, I have other conditions as well as family history that add to my personal risk and my GP is really really good, so it might vary where you are OP. I really hope not, but that might be the case.
ComingtoKent I hope it's not a postcode lottery thing, that would be very unjust. I had an endoscopy at 22 after my DF was treated, and I honestly think my GP offered it just to put my mind at rest as I was in a bit of a state.
My DF survived his cancer, thanks to early detection and surgery, and is still going strong now, into his 70s. My FIL wasn't so fortunate and passed away a few months after diagnosis, though his wasn't detected early.
In my experience, if you have a family history of an illness doctors like to check sooner rather than later. I have a friend who's mother had breast cancer relatively young. She had to get tested at 21 to make sure she didn't have any early signs of it.
Bowel cancer is linked with other cancers (womb, uterine, brain, spring to mind bit there are others) if these also run in your family you should defiantly raise it with your gp. Ask to be checked to see if you have the gene linked to these cancers. I think the main center is at the john Radcliffe hospital si may be worth googling for some info first. If your found to have it you will be put on an increased screening program.
Talk to your GP see if they can arrange something.
In Scotland we have screening from age 50. I know someone who as a result of the test was called for colonoscopy where they found and removed some polyps
Where I am, (Norfolk) they have just started offering bowel scopes as a cancer test for people when they are 55 - it's sigmoidoscopy rather than the stool test thing you get sent when you are 60+ - I had mine a couple of months ago.
I would definitely ask your GP about it especially considering your family history, you might be offered the bowelscope.
people can have polyp things in the walls of their bowels that develop into bowel cancer. not sure if the boots kit would pick these up but the proper NHS test would. they remove them if you have them, which i think is an easy thing to do, or relatively so. you might not get bleeding at that point as i think that comes later - but i'm no doctor
I was in exactly your position OP and I do have other relatives as well as DF. I was still told no! I have private insurance and used that in the end as I was concerned but it should not have been that way. This is the reason why the UK has one of the worst cancer detection rates in Europe.
I'm in Ireland. My Dad got bowel cancer in his 40s. Once I turned 25, I was sent for a colonoscopy, and have been having them every 5 years since. My brother lives in a different part of the country, and his GP started the screening program at 25 as well.
Sorry to hijack. My Grandmother and two of her brothers died from bowel cancer.
Does this make me higher risk?
My grandmothers sister (my aunt) is still going strong at 91.My gran died at 81. I know her brothers were much younger.
My DF died of bowel cancer when I was very young. Last year I wanted to be tested so went to the GP, I had to give samples and blood test, because of my history she was very supportive. All is well. Go to your GP.
Joyszaz you are only at higher risk if your family members were younger.
Thank you Indantherene l think my uncles were. I will check with my Mum.
Speak to your GP, my father was diagnosed with bowel cancer around this time last year - his brother died of it when he was young and my Dad was being routinely monitored but the routine screenings - colonoscopies had been stopped a few years ago. His cancer remained undetected (the NHS stool test came back clear). One of his other brothers did have polys picked up early and removed after he went for a colonoscopy when my dad was diagnosed.
I have the bowel cancer gene (Lynch syndrome) so have had all the tests. I was diagnosed with my first primary at 31. One relative with bowel cancer would not normally be sufficient for a referral for further investigation (unless your DF was very young when he was diagnosed). There are (supposedly) national guidelines that apply to all referrals for genetic investigation which specify number of relatives/age of death. Bear in mind that the genetic tests they need to do are not widely available outside of the NHS.
I am not a doctor but to be completely blunt, it is likely that you would have either had symptoms or a cancer diagnosis by now if you had Lynch syndrome. There are other genes linked to bowel cancer that may still require investigation, so I am not suggesting that you shouldn't see your GP. To give you an idea of the level of risk, my statistical likelihood of contracting womb cancer before the age of 45 is 85% and the chances of another colon cancer in that timeframe are just under 70%. There are other linked cancers but the risk is generally lower (but still not great, obviously!) Unless other relatives have had the same disease, there is every chance that your DF was just - very sadly - unlucky.
If you do get referred to the genetics service, you will be required to have genetic counseling and they will also want to talk about the possibility of testing any DC. It also takes ruddy ages so you may not know anything further for a year and during this time it's obviously v important to keep an eye out for signs and symptoms!
Feel free to send me a PM if I can help.
Join the discussion
Please login first.