Mike and I met the genetic counselor yesterday who had gone over Mike's "pedigree" aka family history. I always think of Mike having a really big family, but in reality, while he has a lot of half-uncles there are not many full aunts and uncles. Because of this there isn't enough family history to go on to get a strong "yes it is hereditary" or "no it is not."
Basically we're looking at three possibilities. The first is that this was a weird, freak, single event that just happened because Mike is one of the 6 in 100 people that will get colon cancer. The other two possibilities will be deteremined by genetic testing.
Hereditary colon cancer is caused by an altered gene that is passed on in a family. One potential hereditary form is Lynch Syndrome or HNPCC (Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer). People with HNPCC have an 80% risk of developing colorectal cancer during their life.
MYH-associated polyposis is the other possibility. Typically, this causes multiple colon polyps and is caused by a recessive gene, meaning both parents must be carriers and their children have a 1 in 4 chance of having MYH. Mike only had one polyp (which was cancerous) in addition to the tumor, but it is probable that the tumor started as a polyp, which is why he will also be tested for this.
For the time being we just go on with life, which I must say, is kind of a relief. Nothing more can be done until we get results in about 4 weeks.
Not sure how much more I'll feel a need to blog until then. We'll see. Sometimes feelings and thoughts just seem to creep up out of nowhere and catch me off guard.