• Know Your Family History of Cancer

    Just as your lifestyle choices can affect your chances of developing cancer, your genetics also play a key role since certain cancers tend to run in families. Approximately five to ten percent of all cancers are caused by genetic mutations that can be inherited from our parents. Knowing what types of cancer have been diagnosed in other family members can help you determine if you may also be at risk.

    Hereditary Cancer Syndromes

    When multiple people in the same family are diagnosed with the same type of cancer, it may signal hereditary cancer syndrome. This means you have a higher than normal risk of developing a certain type of cancer, based on your family history. There are more than 50 known hereditary cancer syndromes, including breast cancer, ovarian cancer and colorectal cancer (called Lynch syndrome).

    You’re more likely to have hereditary cancer syndrome if you have the following risk factors:

    • A significant family history of cancer
    • Cancer that occurred at an early age in a family member
    • Several close family members diagnosed with the same type of cancer
    • Two or more types of cancer that develop in the same person

    If you’re at risk for hereditary cancer syndrome, talk to your doctor about the possibility of genetic testing. Genetic testing can help determine if you have a certain gene mutation that may lead to a specific type of cancer. Genetic counseling can help you understand your genetic test results and offer resources and education on your next steps, such as screenings, depending on the results.

    Contact Genetic Counseling Services