Our team of medical experts are ready to help

Your questions answered

Fran asked...

Am I at risk of developing bowel cancer?

Tags: Cancer

My brother died of bowel cancer 2 years ago, am I at a greater risk of developing it?

  • mother-thermometer-doctor-at-hand

    Do you need to see a GP quickly?


    Would you like to speak with a doctor by video or phone at a time that suits you?

    Our Doctor@Hand service, delivered by Doctor Care Anywhere, offers a doctor appointment by video or phone at a time that suits you.

The answer

Bowel cancer is the 4th most common type of cancer affecting people in the UK. The biggest risk factor is age because most cases affect people over the age of 60.

If your brother was under the age of 45, then you have a strong family history and could be at increased risk. If he was older than 45 but you have another relative who has also had bowel cancer, you may still be at increased risk. If this is the case, your doctor will be able to refer you to a geneticist to look into your risk more closely.

You may be eligible for regular screening tests to pick up any early signs of cancer.

Answered by Dr Emmajane Down.


Have you seen our BodyTalking campaign?

Could you name 5 signs of bowel cancer? Watch our short BodyTalking film so you know what to look out for...

You may also be interested in

Bowel cancer

Diet tips for a healthy bowel and digestive system

Lets get moving to reduce bowel cancer risk

Newsletter sign up

Sign up to our monthly newsletter, Better Health, to receive our latest health and wellbeing updates.

Sign up to newsletter