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Some childhood cancer treatments may increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Radiation to the:
The risk begins to increase about 10 years after radiation. In the general population, colorectal cancer is most likely to occur between the ages of 45 and 65. Cancer may occur earlier in childhood cancer survivors who had radiation to areas near the colon and rectum.
During the early stages of colorectal cancer, there are rarely signs and symptoms.
Signs and symptoms become evident as cancer becomes more advanced. If you have any of these, contact a health care provider immediately.
Other conditions may cause these signs and symptoms. Your health care provider can evaluate them to find out what may cause them.
Most people who received radiation to the abdomen, spine, and pelvis will not develop colorectal cancer as a result of treatment. But the risk is higher than people your age who have never had radiation.
It is important to have recommended colorectal screenings to catch cancer early when treatment is most effective.
Ask your oncologist about your risk of late effects.
Have a yearly physical examination with your health care provider.
Tell your primary health care provider about your risk. Share a copy of your Survivorship Care Plan, which includes a treatment summary. It includes details about your cancer treatment and information about health problems that may occur because of your treatment.
Childhood cancer survivors who had radiation therapy to the abdomen, spine, pelvis, or total body should get colorectal screening beginning 5 years after radiation or at age 30, whichever is later.
Talk to your provider about which screening option is best for you. These options include a stool test every 3 years or colonoscopy every 5 years. The colonoscopy is the preferred test, the gold standard in testing for colorectal cancer.
Reviewed: December 2019