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The GUTS Colon Cancer Family Clinic provides free bowel cancer screening and counselling for people who have a higher risk of developing bowel cancer because of their family history. Bowel cancer usually affects people in later life but many of the people referred to the GUTS clinic will have experienced the loss of a close relative to the disease at a much earlier age; indeed in some exceptional cases teenagers and young people in their twenties and thirties may develop bowel cancer because of a genetic trait. Although rare, conditions such as Lynch Syndrome and Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) dramatically increase the likelihood of an individual developing colon cancer.
When a patient is referred to the GUTS clinic, we ask them to complete a family questionnaire so we can assess their risk of going on to develop bowel cancer. Generally that will depend on how many first degree relatives (parent or sibling) have developed bowel cancer and at what age. Patients may then be referred for genetic testing and/or regular colonoscopy examinations. We keep in touch with patients and they are followed up at regular intervals until they become eligible for the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme at age 60.
The GUTS Colorectal Cancer Family clinic provides a unique service and one which would not otherwise be readily available to families. An early warning of bowel cancer can mean the difference between simple, effective and non-invasive treatment and the physical and psychological trauma of surgery, cancer treatment and uncertainty that comes with a late diagnosis. This important service can be literally life-saving.
For information about using our Colon Cancer Family Clinic please contact:
Level D, Royal Surrey NHS Trust, Egerton Road, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XX