Hereditydescribes the passing of DNA (genetic information) from parentto child. Although many people have a family member with a history of cancer, the vast majority of cancersare not due to heredity. Most cancersoccur by random chance, often the result of environmental conditions or lifestyle choices, or just normal aging.
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Is cancer hereditary from the mother or father?
Hereditary 鈥?Cancer that occurs when specific DNA is inherited from parent to child. Individuals with hereditary cancers are more likely to have family members with the same, or similar, type of cancer. Hereditary cancers often occur at an earlier than average age.
What causes cancer to be passed to children?
This inherited risk for cancer is caused by a small change (called a mutation) in a gene, which can be passed from one generation to the next in a family. When someone inherits this type of gene mutation from a parent, they have an increased risk to get a certain type (or types) of cancer.
How do family members share cancer gene mutations?
Family members share genes and may, therefore, share cancer gene mutations. Relatives with the same cancer gene mutation usually share an increased risk to get cancer. Sometimes, a single gene mutation that increases the risk for cancer can increase the risk for more than one type of cancer. An example is a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.
Is there a family history of cancer?
A family history of cancer. In families with an inherited faulty gene there may be a pattern of specific types of cancer running in the family. Most people who have relatives with cancer will not have inherited a faulty gene. Cancer mostly occurs in older people.