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Dear Doc.

Q. i have an unfortunate family history with my mother and my aunt developing bowel cancer in their fifties. There is also a suggestion that their father also died from cancer of the rectum but no one seems sure.

I wonder if the problem is hereditary and if there is a point in getting screened?

A. BOWEL cancer does seem to run in families, though it is by no means certain that you will get cancer it does seem sensible that you are thoroughly checked out.

There is a slow roll-out of screening services for bowel cancer. Your own GP should know how services are arranged locally.

It may be appropriate for you to see a geneticist or a gastroenterologist who will probably recommend that you have a regular bowel examination to look for polyps.

These polyps are usually not cancerous themselves and can easily be removed, but if they are left to their own devices a small proportion of them can turn into cancer.

The procedure is then repeated at intervals to make sure you remain in the clear.

Q. I RECENTLY was asked by a friend if I had noticed that my three year old had knock knees when he is standing up straight.

We compared her toddler with mine and found that his knees do seem to turn in noticeably more than her daughter's. Is this the sort of thing that sorts itself or should I be concerned?

A. A DEGREE of knock knees is acceptable in toddlers and it will generally grow out as they become more used to walking.

With normal legs the deformity should be symmetrical with each knee bending in by the same amount. The other feature of normal knock knees is that the distance between the ankles when your child is standing up straight with the knees just touching should be less than 10 cm.

If you have any concerns your health visitor or GP should be able to check things out.

* HAVE you a question for our Gazette doctor? Write to; Dear Doctor, Features Desk, Evening Gazette Borough Road, Middlesbrough TS1 3AZ email; features@eveninggazette.co.uk
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Title Annotation:Family Life
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Nov 14, 2005
Words:356
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