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  1. Colorectal cancer is a fairly common disease of Western populations with a typical onset at about age 70 years. The international epidemiology of this disease suggests that environmental factors, probably dietary, are the most important influences for the high prevalence of this disease in certain countries.1 Woven into the epidemiologic fabric for colorectal cancer is an important influence of genetic factors. Individuals who have even one first-degree relative with colorectal neoplasia (i.e., either cancers or adenomatous polyps) have an increased risk for these tumors themselves, which will appear earlier in life.2-4 The familial risk increases when there is more than one family member involved or cancers occur before age 50.3, 4

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