Who should participate in hereditary cancer risk assessment or genetic testing?
Approximately 5-10% of cancers are inherited. Changes in a particular gene can be passed down from a parent and are associated with a higher lifetime risk of cancer. Features suggestive of hereditary cancer include:
- An individual diagnosed with cancer prior to age 50
- An individual who has developed more than one cancer
- An individual with a rare type of cancer (triple negative breast cancer, ovarian, male breast cancer, aggressive prostate, pancreatic)
- An individual with two or more family members diagnosed with the same cancer
- A family member with an identifiable gene mutation known to increase the risk of cancer
- Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry with a personal or family history of cancer
- Families with a constellation of breast and ovarian cancers or colon and uterine cancers
- More than 10 colon polyps
- Rare tumors such as medullary thyroid cancer, paragangliomas, or pheochromocytomas
- Abnormal tumor testing (MSI, MMR deficient, genetic variants in tumor)
If you or your family have these features, it is important to review this information with your health care provider and to schedule an appointment with our genetics team for a more in-depth discussion.