Understanding genetic cancer risk
Everyone has some risk of developing cancer. While all of the factors that lead to cancer development are not yet known, medical researchers have been able to group cancers into three broad categories:
- Sporadic: These are cancers that develop by chance and represent about 60 percent of all cancers that are diagnosed. People with sporadic cancer typically don't have relatives with the same type of cancer.
- Familial: These cancers occur in approximately 30 percent of families. There may be more than one person with the same cancer, but there is not a specific pattern of "passing it down" from parent to child.
- Hereditary: Cancer that occurs when an altered gene (mutation) is passed down from parent to child. Approximately 5 to 10 percent of cancer can be linked to hereditary.
DNA tests are available for specific mutations. Genetic counseling and testing can help individuals determine if they are carriers of these mutations.
The Hereditary Cancer Program specializes in helping patients/families understand their hereditary cancer risk and steps that can be taken to reduce risk. The program offers both genetic testing and counseling for individuals and families.
For more information, please call (606) 408-1639.