About Hereditary Cancer
What is an inherited cancer?
Inherited cancer is caused by changes in certain genes. Genes are the instructions that our bodies use to grow and function. Genes and gene changes are passed from parents to children. A family history of cancer does not mean you will develop cancer yourself. Inherited cancers are rare. Only five to 10 percent of people with cancer have a type that is caused by inherited gene changes.
Common hereditary cancers include:
- Breast Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
- Uterine Cancer
- Colon Cancer
Cancer is more likely to be inherited if:
- Two or more blood relatives have they same type of cancer. (Except cervical, lung or skin cancer.)
- Breast, colon, uterine, rectal cancer was diagnosed before age 50
- The cancer is ovarian, fallopian tube or peritoneal cancer
- The cancer is a rare type, such breast cancer in a man
- The cancer develops in both breasts, both kidneys
- A single family member has developed more than one type of cancer; for example a woman with uterine and colon cancer (except cervical, lung or skin cancer).
How can you find out if a cancer is inherited?
You can make a genetic counseling appointment to review your concerns and find out your risks for an inherited cancer. This appointment is a health education session with a Master's trained and board certified genetic counselor.