If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and suspect it might be genetic, there’s a chance you could be right. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 5% to 10% of all cancers result directly from inherited genetic mutations. To help you find out, RCCA offers genetic testing services. For more information, schedule an appointment at one of our offices in New Jersey, Maryland or Connecticut.
The Connection Between Cancer and Genetics
Cancer can be caused by many different things, and in some cases, the cause is unknown. However, researchers have been able to pinpoint a genetic link for some types of cancer, including breast, ovarian, pancreatic and prostate cancer. So while your diagnosis is more likely caused by something else, it is possible that it was inherited.
That’s because certain genetic mutations can predispose people to developing cancer. While these genes don’t guarantee a person will ever be diagnosed, there is a greater risk. For example, if a woman has an inherited mutation in either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, she is more likely to develop breast cancer or ovarian cancer at some point during her lifetime.
How to Tell If Your Cancer Is Genetic
Genetic testing can help determine whether or not a cancer diagnosis is genetic. But there are some other signs that could indicate a possible connection. If one or more of the following attributes applies to your situation, your cancer diagnosis might be hereditary.
- Several blood relatives on the same side of the family were diagnosed with the same type of cancer
- The cancer diagnosis is an unusual case (young age, uncommon sex, etc.)
- Cancer appears in both organs of a pair (such as both breasts or both kidneys)
- An individual was diagnosed with more than one type of cancer
- More than one case of childhood cancer among siblings
Be sure to talk to your doctor about your family medical history and any concerns you might have. Understanding genes and the role they play in cancer can potentially help with treatment and increase awareness among other family members who may be at risk. It can also help doctors determine prognosis.
Exploring Cancer Genetics
Want to know more about cancer genetics? It’s a growing field and new discoveries are being made all the time. While genetic testing isn’t right for every patient diagnosed with cancer, it can help provide some clarity for others. Talk to your doctor at RCCA about your options today.