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9 Myths About Men and Hereditary Cancer

True or false? Men don’t need genetic testing since only women can have a hereditary risk to develop cancer.

Answer: FALSE. The notion that men cannot have hereditary cancer mutations that put them at increased risk to develop cancer is just one of the myths surrounding men and genetic testing.

Here are 9 more FALSE ideas about men and genetic testing:

  1. Only your mother’s family history counts.
  2. Men can’t have a mutation that increases the risk for breast or ovarian cancer because they don’t have breasts or ovaries.
  3. Genetic counseling is only for women.
  4. Men don’t need genetic testing because it wouldn’t affect their medical management.
  5. Men can’t get breast cancer.
  6. Insurance companies never cover genetic counseling or testing for men.
  7. Men cannot pass hereditary cancer mutations to children.
  8. Unless they have kids, men don’t need genetic testing.
  9. Hereditary cancer only affects women.

Reasons that men should consider genetic testing include:

  • Personal history of early-onset cancer (< age 50)
  • Personal history of multiple primary cancers
  • Personal history of prostate cancer that is metastatic or has a Gleason score of at least 7
  • Personal history of > 10 colon polyps
  • Strong family history of cancer (either side of the family)

Men, it’s time to learn the truth about genetic testing. It could have important implications for you and your entire families. It may even save a life.

Photo by Sascha Kohlmann, via Flickr