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Genetics & Family History

Genetics & Family History

Does cancer run in your family? Knowing the cancer history of your family is important to understanding your potential risk for cancer so you can take charge of your health.

According to the National Cancer Institute, 5 to 10 percent of all cancers are linked to inherited genetic mutations. There are many hereditary cancer syndromes, which may predispose an individual to certain types of cancer, such as breast, colorectal, or skin cancer. Genetic tests can look for these genetic mutations and help people to better understand their risk for cancer.

Genetic testing for cancer risk isn’t necessary for everyone, but those with a family history may find it helpful for future medical decisions. Not every family member that inherits a certain genetic mutation will necessarily develop cancer, so talking to a genetic counselor or geneticist is important.

Before speaking to your primary care provider or a genetic counselor, learn more about your family history using this questionnaire.

Learn more:

National Cancer Institute - The Genetics of Cancer
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention - Knowing is Not Enough