Skip to primary navigation | Skip to content | Skip to footer

Bowel cancer

Download the Bowel Cancer factsheet (PDF).

Why do we ask?

During our history-taking, we'll ask you whether you have a family history of bowel cancer.

This is because the genes for a certain type of bowel cancer, called Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) will often cause certain types of freckles to appear in the retina at the back of the eye.

These freckles are called "CHRPEs", which stands for Congenital Hypertrophy of the Retinal Pigment Epithelium. Another name is "Bear Tracks" - you’ll see why when you look at the picture. "Congenital" means you’re born with them. If you don’t have them now, you won’t have them in future.

If we see CHRPEs in your retinas, we like to know in advance whether these might represent a genetic risk for your overall health. Even if there's no known family history of bowel cancer, we'll certainly discuss them with you.

Some CHPREs have no bearing on a patient’s health. However, if you at least know they're present, forearmed is forewarned if you ever have any question marks over future bowel health.

Download the Bowel Cancer factsheet (PDF).