Polyp Family History

This tool contains questions that should be integrated into the targeted family history for colorectal cancer (CRC) when the family history suggests the possibility of a polyposis syndrome. (See the Targeted Colorectal Cancer Family History) Note that most patients will not know the answers to many of these questions and will have to ask relatives for more information.

Determine the number of relatives who have polyps and ask the following questions, as applicable based on the answers to the questions that precede them:

  • What was the relative’s age at first colon exam and age at first diagnosis of polyps?
  • How were the polyps diagnosed? (e.g., colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, barium enema)
  • How many polyps has the relative had, either during each colonoscopy or total in his/her lifetime?
  • What type of polyps did the relative have? (adenomas, hyperplastic, juvenile, serrated or hamartomas)
  • Has the relative had any surgeries for polyps (e.g., for removal of large polyps or for intussusceptions)?
  • Has the relative ever had CRC? If yes, age at diagnosis?
  • Has the relative ever been diagnosed with a polyposis syndrome (e.g., familial adenomatous polyposis or attenuated FAP)?
  • Has the relative ever had any extracolonic manifestations such as osteomas, sebaceous cysts, desmoid tumors, spots on their retina (CHRPE), extra teeth, etc.?
  • Has the relative ever had genetic testing for a polyposis or hereditary cancer syndrome?
  • Is the relative willing to sign a release to share the relevant portion of his/her medical records?

Editor’s Note

Developed through collaboration between the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics and the American Medical Association.