e-book Genetic Predisposition to Cancer

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At present, there is no simple genetic test for those interested in being tested. Genetic tests are only used when there is clear evidence of a possible hereditary predisposition to cancer.

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Genetic counselling on cancer. Helsinki: Kustannus Oy Duodecim. Facts about cancer Open subnavigation Facts about cancer What is cancer? What causes cancer?


How is hereditary cancer identified? Hereditary breast cancer Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women. Hereditary colorectal cancer About two-three per cent of the new cases of colorectal cancer detected each year are hereditary. We refer to hereditary colorectal cancer if At least three close family relatives have had colorectal cancer and at least one of them is under 50 years old.

Inside almost every single cell in your body is a structure called the nucleus, which is the control centre of the cell. Inside the nucleus are 23 pairs of chromosomes made up of genes. Genes are coded messages that tell cells how to behave. They control how our bodies grow and develop. We each have about 25, genes. All cancers develop because something has gone wrong with one or more of the genes in a cell. Usually a cell must have 6 or more gene faults before it becomes cancerous.

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These faults can make a cell stop working properly. It may then become cancerous and divide and grow uncontrollably.

Stanford Cancer Genetics Program: Jessica’s story

Most gene changes happen during our lifetime but some can be inherited from a parent. Most cancers are caused by gene faults that develop during our lifetime. They may happen as we get older due to random mistakes when a cell is dividing.

Genetic predisposition to cancer - insights from population genetics.

Or they may happen because of something we are exposed to, such as cigarette smoke or sunlight. These things are called carcinogens. They are not inherited and can't be passed on to our children.

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They are called acquired mutations. Cancers caused by acquired mutations are called sporadic cancers. Some faulty genes that increase the risk of cancer can be passed on from parent to child. These are called inherited cancer genes.

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  5. This occurs when there is a mistake or a fault in the genes in an egg or sperm cell. Then the gene fault can be passed on to children.

    For more information about genetic predisposition to disease:

    Genes that increase the risk of cancer are called cancer susceptibility genes. These genes would normally protect us against cancer — they correct DNA damage that naturally occurs when cells divide. Inheriting a faulty copy of one of these genes means that it cannot repair damaged DNA in cells. This means the cells may become cancerous.

    We inherit genes from both our parents.

    Family Cancer Syndromes

    If you have an increased likelihood of developing a condition you may be on alert for symptoms, and your doctor may check you more carefully than someone without that predisposition. What this could mean is that if you do develop the disease, it may be caught earlier than if you were not watching for the disease; and in this sense, you may actually have a greater chance of surviving a condition than if you were not on the lookout.

    An example of this could be someone with a genetic predisposition to breast cancer. Based on a possible increased risk you might be more likely to do breast exams, see your doctor more frequently, perhaps begin having mammograms earlier or even yearly breast MRIs. If you did develop breast cancer it may be detected at an earlier—and more survivable stage—than it would be in someone who is not alerted to the possibility. Limiting processed foods and red meats can help ward off cancer risk.

    These recipes focus on antioxidant-rich foods to better protect you and your loved ones. Sign up and get your guide! More in Lung Cancer. Also called genetic susceptibility Increased risk of developing a medical condition physical, psychological, or even emotional response based on genetic makeup Doesn't directly cause the disease, for example, some people with the same genetic predisposition may develop a disease while others may not Most common diseases, including most cancers , are considered multifactorial. Was this page helpful?

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