Prof. Gabriela Moslein

I would like to congratulate EuropaColon for this wonderful initiative and the implementation the Young Voices United against Colorectal Cancer (CRC) forum targeted at supporting young patients who have received a diagnosis of colorectal cancer. It is my experience that issues affecting young people with colorectal cancer are quite different to those older patients affected by the disease with regards to personal challenges and perception.

Supporting each other during this difficult time is crucial as CRC in younger patients can be clinically different and this may well be the case for many of you -this information is also important and is available on this website and is supported by a network of Health Care Professionals.
I am a German female Professor specialising in colorectal surgery with many years of experience in the field of hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes.  We know that among younger CRC patients a number will have a hereditary predisposition to the disease.  The hereditary history in these families can show a large variety of different cancers although CRC appears to be the most frequent.

Other associated cancers are endometrial, small bowel, stomach, bladder, ovarian, brain, and skin among others. Therefore a pattern of heredity may be recognised by specialised professionals. For a first check, you will shortly be able to complete an online risk assessment test on the Young Voices United against CRC website. If you have any doubt then you need to speak with your general practitioner and request a referral to a Consultant Geneticist.

In some cases young people affected by CRC will not have a hereditary predisposition but what we often refer to as an "accident in the genes" for a yet unknown reason.  We understand that this ‘gene malfunction’ may just be down to chance or environmental factors.  In addition there is some evidence to show that this subset of CRC’s maybe less penetrant genes that have yet to be identified. However the possibility of a heredity condition is to be explored with regards to the patient potentially being the first in a line with a genetic disposition and for the benefit of other family members. CRC in younger people can often be more aggressive than in older populations therefore the need for early diagnosis is most important.
I wish EuropaColon the very best of luck with this initiative and encourage all young people diagnosed with CRC to join in supporting each other.  Together with EuropaColon we will be looking into forming a professional platform on which discussion and planning can take place to look at improving our understanding of why we are seeing an increase in young people diagnosed with this disease.

Any advice given cannot be replaced by advice given by your clinician.
Prof. Gabriela Moslein