Colorectal cancer (CRC) is an increasing burden on our society. Identifying those who are at the greatest risk and improving triage for treatment will have the greatest impact on healthcare. CRC is a prime paradigm for cancer genetics: the majority of disease results from stages of progression lending itself to prevention by early detection of the pre-disease (neoplastic) state. Approximately 10% represent well defined hereditary cancer syndromes. Hereditary CRC has the added benefit that many are slow growing and family members are armed with the knowledge of potential risk of associated carcinomas and empowerment to reduce the disease burden. This knowledge provides the indication for early endoscopic and/or surgical intervention for prevention or treatment of an entire family cohort. The molecular basis of CRC allows enhanced characterization of carcinomas, leading to targeted therapies.
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