The most common cancers that are currently considered to be hereditary are breast, ovarian, colon, uterine, gastric, pancreatic, melanoma and prostate cancers.
If cancer runs in your family, a mutation may be to blame.
Individuals with a genetic mutation linked to these cancers are at a much higher risk of developing these diseases at an earlier age.
It is important to remember, if you do have a mutation, it doesn’t automatically mean you will get cancer. No matter what your risk level, there is always something you can do to be proactive and reduce your risk.
Healthcare providers look for patterns in your family health history that help tell if you’re at a higher risk for developing a hereditary cancer.
If cancer runs in your family, a mutation may be to blame. But some families have a significant cancer history, with no identifiable mutations.
with the cancer connection caused by things like environment, lifestyle, or even other gene mutations that simply haven’t been identified or studied yet.
Of note, the identification and study of new mutations is advancing at a rapid rate.
If family history is significant and a gene mutation is not identified, you may be placed in a care pathway for earlier and increased surveillance, based on family history.
It is incredibly important to understand that most cancer isn’t actually the result of an inherited mutation.
In fact, only about 10% of cancer is hereditary and another 15% is familial.
The majority of cancers are part of a group called “sporadic”.
Sporadic cancers occur by chance and may be tied to things like your lifestyle or the environment.
Most cancers are sporadic ( approximately 70% ) and occur in older individuals with little or no family history and no genetic risk.
Therefore it is important to follow screening guidelines for “average” risk:
A genetic test uses your saliva or blood to look at your DNA. This can show if there are mutations or changes in a single gene or several genes that may place you and your family a greater risk for developing a disease, such as cancer.
We inherit each of our genes directly from our parents-two copies of every gene, one that is passed from our mother and one that is passed from our father.
Most genes are exactly the same from person to person, but a small fraction (less than 1 percent) have slight differences.
If you have had a hereditary cancer or are at risk, based on family history and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines, you are very likely to qualify for genetic testing.
For qualified individuals, the following is in place: