a544d-4172664137_c9a8eaecdd_b

Who Should Be Concerned About Hereditary Cancer?

Most cancer is not hereditary. Approximately 80% of cancer is not inherited and is instead caused by a combination of factors, including aging, obesity, and environmental factors.

So who should be concerned about hereditary cancer?

If one or more of the following red flags are found in your family, you should consider seeing a certified genetic counselor to learn more about your risks and options.

You have a PERSONAL HISTORY of  any of the following:

    • A diagnosis of cancer before age 50
    • More than one cancer diagnosis (such as bilateral breast or kidney cancer; colon and uterine cancer; or ovarian and breast cancer)
    • Male breast, pancreatic, ovarian, or metastatic prostate cancer
    • Jewish ancestry (because this confers an increased risk for a specific cancer predisposition syndrome) + a personal or family history of breast, ovarian, prostate, or pancreatic cancer.

Or, You have a FAMILY HISTORY that includes at least one of the following in close family members:

    • A diagnosis of cancer before age 50
    • A family member with more than one cancer diagnosis (such as bilateral breast cancer; colon and uterine cancer; or ovarian and breast cancer)
    • A family member with male breast pancreatic, ovarian, or metastatic prostate cancer
    • Family members with the following combinations of cancer in the same bloodline:  (breast, ovarian, pancreas, prostate, pancreas); (colorectal, other digestive system, uterine, ovarian, urinary tract)

If genetic testing reveals that there is a genetic mutation associated with cancer in a family, other family members can be offered testing. Family members who have the familial mutation can start surveillance at an earlier age and may be offered more surveillance and risk reduction options. These options can be life-saving.

You can learn more about genetic counselors here and find a genetic counselor here.