One in five patients with colorectal cancer have other relatives with a history of the disease.
Now, the father of the famous Jonas Brothers is speaking out to make sure his sons don’t join that statistic.
Last year, Kevin Jonas, Sr., was diagnosed with stage II colon cancer at just 52 years old. After surgery and six months of preventive chemotherapy, his cancer is now in remission. His newest challenge? Urging his sons – who range in age from 17 to 30 – to undergo early colorectal screenings.
When discovered early, colorectal cancers – which include cancers of the colon (large intestine) and rectum – are among the most treatable types of cancer, with five-year survival rates around 90 percent. However, only 37 percent are detected in this early, localized stage – which is why early screenings can be so life-saving.
Family factors can greatly influence a person’s chances of developing cancer. In certain families, cancers are associated with gene mutations that are passed from parent to child. These uncommon genetic syndromes are responsible for 5–10 percent of colorectal cancer cases. One example is Lynch syndrome, which can significantly increase a person’s likelihood of developing not just colorectal cancers, but endometrial, ovarian and stomach cancers.
In other families, colorectal cancer may be present without any gene mutations. Jonas, Sr., confirmed that his sons have undergone DNA screenings for genetic cancer markers, but revealed they appear to be in the clear.
Genetic testing for colorectal cancers is only recommended for certain candidates. Your physician will review your family- and medical history with you to help you decide whether to pursue genetic testing or early screening.
Colonoscopy, a painless procedure that is typically performed while the patient is under anesthesia, is the most common screening tool for colorectal cancer. Using a tiny camera to inspect the colon, this method can detect precancerous polyps before they develop into something more serious.
Routine colonoscopies are usually recommended beginning at age 50, but certain risk factors – including a family history of colorectal cancer or a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease – may prompt your physician to recommend them earlier (or more frequently). Rest assured: that’s not as bad as it sounds.
Florida Hospital offers a range of other accurate, accessible and comfortable preventative screening tools, including flexible sigmoidoscopy, barium enema and imaging studies. Taking your age, symptoms and risk factors into account, your physician or specialist will work with you to decide which procedure is the best fit.
For more information or to schedule an appointment for a screening visit our website.