Medical discoveries are rapidly expanding our knowledge and understanding of the link between cancer and genetics. We know that certain cancers – such as breast, ovarian, colon, endometrial, melanoma and pancreatic – are more likely to run in families. A person’s medical and family history often holds clues to determine if he or she has, or is at risk for, an inherited cancer.
Individuals concerned about their personal or family history of cancer may benefit from an evaluation. Features often seen in hereditary cancer include:
- Multiple family members with the same type of cancer
- A cancer diagnosis at an early age – before age 50
- A family member with more than one type of cancer
- Cancer in multiple close relatives
- A known cancer genetic abnormality
A family history of cancer does not always mean that your cancer risk is high. Information received during your genetic evaluation will help clarify your specific risk factors and deal with them accordingly.
Your breast surgeon may initiate appropriate genetic testing recommendations and sampling and further genetic counseling through the Mercy Cancer Center. For more information about the Family and Genetic Risk Program, contact the Mercy Cancer Center at (515) 643-8206 or 1-888-221-4849.