Hereditary Cancer


Understanding Hereditary Cancer

Below you will find links to web sites and video’s that provide basic information on hereditary cancer, cancer definitions, risk factors, and prevention.

It is generally accepted that 5-10% of all Cancers are hereditary. This means that mutations in specific genes are passed from one blood relative to another. Individuals who inherit one of these abnormal genes have a much greater chance of developing cancer within their lifetime and at an earlier age.

According to one of the companies that provides genetic testing for Cancer –The best time to beat Cancer is before you get it.

The genetic tests for Cancer are either a simple blood test or saliva sample, however the tests may be expensive. Federal law (passed in 1996) prohibits the use of genetic testing to inhibit your access to medical insurance. In other words, no insurance company can deny you benefits if you carry the cancer gene. Genetic discrimination is illegal. Genetic counselors suggest that the person already diagnosed with Cancer be the first one tested.

Reliable Links


What you can find here

Myriad laboratory has a decent website for preliminary information. Click on the Inherited Cancer and Genetic Testing links first. There is a family history tool that is pretty good. Financial help is available from Myriad. They appear to be very helpful in assisting individuals with the payment and insurance process. The support links given are standard and we are in the process of evaluating each link. If you have any experience with these organizations, we’d love some feedback. The glossary has some definitions you way want to review. They define terms we have had trouble finding in other places.

Cancer Risk Test

What you can find here

Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention has created a website that provides an interactive tool to determine your risk of getting cancer. Questionnaire is available in English and Spanish. Documentation says it is more accurate for persons over 40 years old. You need to fill out a simple questionnaire for each of the 12 types of cancer listed. The site also has a test for risks of heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and stroke.

Risk Factors: click on Family History for a number of worthwhile topics. Resources & Materials in this section they have a brochure for colorectal cancer in 8 languages. In the risk factors section click on vitamins; it is worth reading.

National Cancer Institute

What you can find here

Thorough discussion of hereditary cancer and genetic testing and all the facets of the issue.

MD Anderson Cancer Center
What you can find here

A very thorough analysis of all the different hereditary cancer syndromes.

Genetic Counseling

Genetic counseling is the process, by which patients or relatives, at risk of an inherited disorder, are advised of the consequences and nature of the disorder, the probability of developing or transmitting it, and the options open to them in management and if appropriate, family planning. Genetic counseling is available through many sources, hospitals and doctors. If you are in need of a genetic counselor, please email us through our contact us form.