You should have a discussion with your primary care physician
about your concerns for cancer. Typically a family history is part of the initial visit between a patient and the doctor
, and this is done to help identify any additional risks that may exist for the patient. There are guidelines in place that physicians follow to help determine when cancer screening should start.
For example, it is recommended that colon cancer screening (such as with colonoscopy) start at age 50 in most individuals considered to be at average risk. However, those patients with a first-degree relative with colon cancer diagnosed at a relatively young age should be screened earlier themselves. The same general principle applies to prostate cancer
screening as well. Your doctor can help determine what your individual risks are given your family history. You can help him/her by trying to find out at what ages your relatives were diagnosed with which types of cancer.