What Is Hereditary Cancer?
Cancer is a common disease with complex causes, many of which are not completely understood. Recent advances in cancer genetics have led to the identification of genes that, when altered, create a significantly increased risk for certain cancers. Although most cancers are not due to single, inherited gene alterations, for many common cancers as many as 5-10% are due to hereditary cancer syndromes.
Some of the features seen in families with hereditary cancer syndromes may include:
- clustering of certain types of cancers in a family.
- cancer occurring at younger ages than expected.
- cancer in several close relatives.
- cancer in more than one generation.
- more than one type of cancer in the same individual.
- families that include diagnoses of rare cancers.
The Family Cancer Risk Service of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center can help individuals and families improve their understanding of their cancer risks and the available options for cancer screening, cancer risk reduction, and genetic testing.
For more information on types of hereditary cancer, see:
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
Family Cancer Risk Service
Vanderbilt Health-One Hundred Oaks
719 Thompson Lane Suite 25107
Nashville, TN 37204
or toll-free (877) 688-7555