ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Is Cancer Inherited?

Updated on June 26, 2018
Pamela99 profile image

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, and lifestyle are all important.

Genetic DNA

Source

Is Cancer Inherited?

Approximately 5% to 10% of all cancers have genetic mutations, which have been associated with specific genes, as there are more than fifty hereditary cancer syndromes. These gene mutations can predispose a person to developing particular types of inherited cancers.

Having a gene mutation does not mean you will definitely get cancer. Obviously lifestyle has an impact on the risk of getting cancer. Some examples include having exposure to carcinogenic substances that damage the DNA, including the chemicals in tobacco smoke and ultraviolet rays from the sun.

Inherited Gene Mutations

A gene mutation may be inherited from your mother or father. The damaged gene mutation puts you at a higher risk of developing cancer than most people. Cancers that occur due to the inherited gene are called ‘hereditary cancer.”

Cancer is caused by particular changes to genes that control the way our cells function, including how they grow and divide. The function of genes is to carry instructions to the body to make proteins, which are working cells. Abnormal gene changes may cause normal cells to evade growth or even increase the production that make cells grow too fast.

Common types of cancer that can be inherited include:

  • Breast

  • Ovarian

  • Colorectal

  • Prostate

There are some other some rare types of cancer that can also be inherited.

Blood Test Tube

Source

Genetic Testing - BRAC Genes

Genetic cancer tests include: BRAC1 and BRAC2, which are actually human genes that produce tumor suppressant proteins. These two tests are specific for breast and ovarian cell cancer. Females that carry this gene mutation are more likely to develop breast or ovarian cancer at a younger age than another individual who develops cancer without this gene marker. It is possible for a male to get breast cancer.

BRAC1 and BRAC2 normally help repair damaged DNA. They also play an important role in the genetic cell’s stability. When either of these genes are mutated or altered, then the protein does not function as it was designed. Therefore, repair of DNA damage may not happen. Cells are much more likely to develop other genetic alterations that may lead to cancer.

Whether this mutation is inherited from your mother or your father, the result is each child who carries a mutation of one of these genes has a 50% chance of inheriting the mutation. Again, it does not mean that cancer is definitely in your future. The purpose of genetic testing is to make you aware of having the mutation, and it will enable you to seek early treatment if anything abnormal develops. Genetic counseling is a good idea, so, the results of your testing can be fully explained.

The good news is there are several genetic tests that will tell you if you have a genetic mutation. If someone has active cancer, the genetic testing will show the same cancer-associated mutation in other family members. This does not mean every person carrying this gene mutation will get cancer.

Genetic testing is usually completed using a blood sample, a sputum sample or a tissue sample. The testing procedure is typically not painful.

BRCA 1 & 2 Gene Testing: Who Needs It And What Does A Positive Test Mean?

Other Genetic Tests

Other genetic testing for cancer risk diagnosis include:

  1. Gene: TP53 - LI Frameni Sydrome: This genetic marker reveals some types of “breast cancer, soft tissue sarcoma, osteosarcoma (bone cancer), leukemia, brain tumors, adrenocortical carcinoma (cancer of the adrenal glands), and other cancers.”

  2. Gene: PTEN - Cowden Syndrome: “Breast, thyroid, endometrial (uterine lining), and other cancers.”

  3. Genes: MSH2, MLH1, MSH6, PMS2, EPCAM - Lynch Syndrome - “Related cancer types: Colorectal, endometrial, ovarian, renal pelvis, pancreatic, small intestine, liver and biliary tract, stomach, brain, and breast cancers.”

  4. Gene: RB1 - Retinoblastoma - “Related cancer types: Eye cancer (cancer of the retina), pinealoma,(cancer of the pineal gland), osteosarcoma, melanoma, and soft tissue sarcoma.”

  5. Gene: MEN1 - Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (Wermer syndrome) - “Related cancer types: Pancreatic endocrine tumors and (usually benign) parathyroid and pituitary gland tumors.”

  6. Gene: RET - Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 - “Related cancer types: Medullary thyroid cancer and pheochromocytoma (benign adrenal gland tumor).”

  7. Gene: VHL - Von Hipple-Lindau Syndrome - “Related cancer types: Kidney cancer and multiple non-cancerous tumors, including pheochromocytoma.”

This list of gene tests, including the BRACs can be a bit frightening. Do you need to be tested? The National Cancer Institute suggests three criteria should be met to determine if testing is warranted, which includes having an inherited cancer condition or if you have a family member with one. The tests must be adequately interpreted, and your results will determine your future medical care.

Additionally, there is an ethnic consideration, such as people of Jewish ancestry have a higher percentage of ovarian and breast cancers. Even if there is a cluster of various types of cancer or a close relative has been diagnosed with more than one type of cancer, testing should be considered. If a family member has a type of cancer at a younger age than usual, that may be a reason for testing.

Ovarian Cancer Test

Other Factors That Increase Cancer Risk

Scientist have been aware for numerous years that age is a factor in developing cancer, but scientist have no clear answer as to why. As mentioned earlier, sun exposure and smoking can certainly cause cancer in some cases.

Poor eating habits, lack of exercise, alcohol and other exposures may also have an impact. Doing a self breast exam monthly is an excellent way to catch breast cancer in an early stage.

Gene mutations that happen after conception are called somatic (or acquired) changes. These are changes that may be caused by smoking or ultraviolet rays.

Specific Gene Mutations

With breast, lung, ovarian or gastric cancers, mitochondrial cells can be checked on a routine basis in biopsies. Researchers have developed new measures from their post-treatment of cancer patients. Unfortunately, you cannot know if cancer will return in a patient that has been treated. It is useful to know if a patient does respond well to a specific treatment. This gives some peace of mind to the patients, their families and even the doctors.

Gene mutations that happen after conception are called somatic (or acquired) changes. These are changes that may be caused by smoking or ultraviolet rays.

With breast, lung, ovarian or gastric cancers, mitochondrial cells can be checked on a routine basis in biopsies. Researchers have developed new measures from their post-treatment of cancer patients. Unfortunately, you cannot know if cancer will return in a patient that has been treated. It is useful to know if a patient does respond well to a specific treatment. This gives some peace of mind to the patients, their families and even the doctors.

Gene mutations that happen after conception are called somatic (or acquired) changes. These are changes that may be caused by smoking or ultraviolet rays.

With breast, lung, ovarian or gastric cancers, mitochondrial cells can be checked on a routine basis in biopsies. Researchers have developed new measures from their post-treatment of cancer patients. Unfortunately, you cannot know if cancer will return in a patient that has been treated. It is useful to know if a patient does respond well to a specific treatment. This gives some peace of mind to the patients, their families and even the doctors.

Smoking

Source

In Summary

Approximately two-thirds of all cancer deaths occur due to recurrence after a person’s initial type of cancer and the treatment of the disease. Scientist have looked at over 400 mitochondrial DNA, which has allowed them to predict more successfully if a cancer is likely to return or if metastasis is likely to happen.

Since there are multiple types of cancer, finding a cure has been a long time in coming. The early testing is a very good way for an individual to know if they are at a higher risk, and if so seek treatment when the cancer is in its first stage. The earlier that cancer is diagnosed, the better the long term prognosis.

Genetic Testing Poll

Have you ever had genetic testing for cancer?

See results

© 2018 Pamela Oglesby

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    4 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Audry, I can't imagine the heartbreak of losing a son to cancer. I appreciate your sharing and the comments. Thanks.

  • vocalcoach profile image

    Audrey Hunt 

    5 months ago from Idyllwild Ca.

    As you know, I lost my beautiful son to cancer, I still don't understand why such a healthy, perfect body such as his developed cancer. He never smoked and took good care of himself This is an excellent article packed with valuable information.

    Thank you, Pamela.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    5 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Tim, I am humbled by your praise, but also glad you have some information to share with family and friends. I appreciate your comments.

  • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

    Tim Truzy 

    5 months ago from U.S.A.

    Excellent, Pam. This article is loaded with good information. I'm glad you have shared because several people I know have been impacted by this debilitating disease.

    Thanks again. Inforrmative, educational, and thoughtful.

    Sincerely,

    Tim

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    5 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Thanks for sharing your personal experience. Anyone that has that much cancer in the family really should get tested, and they need very good healthcare. I hope your friend stays cancer free,

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 

    5 months ago from USA

    All of those conditions were daunting but I'm glad that testing exists. I had a work friend whose father and brothers both died of melanoma in middle age and he was under extreme vigilance as a result.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    5 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Peggy, That is exactly why I wrote this article. It could save your life by being tested, or like you said, give you peace of mind. Thanks for your comments.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    5 months ago from Houston, Texas

    This is important news for those people who have family members with cancer. Being tested to see if one carries that same gene mutation can offer peace of mind if the test is negative. If positive then serious lifestyle changes may be in order.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)