Having a family history of cancer increases your risk for developing certain cancers, as well. Fortunately, such at-risk women can receive hereditary cancer services for early preventive measures and diagnosis at Center for Women’s Health in Wichita, Kansas.
Different strains of cancers have different risk factors. Aging is the primary risk factor for most types of cancer. Having a family member who has had cancer is also another high-risk factor: About 10% of all cancers are hereditary, meaning that a mutation in a gene is passed down from parent to child and can increase the risk. These families are said to have “hereditary cancer syndromes.”
Either men or women can pass down the genetic mutations responsible for causing hereditary cancer syndromes. Most of these genes only need a mutation in one copy of the gene to cause an increased risk. For instance, if the patient’s mother or father has a gene mutation that predisposes the patient to develop cancer, there’s a 50% chance of inheriting it.
There are no physical risks from testing, but there can be emotional effects involved. For instance, if Dr. Breit finds a mutation, it can impact other family members. The patient should have a frank discussion with their family and Dr. Breit to discuss possible outcomes.
However, there are many benefits of genetic testing. It can give the patient and his or her family members a sense of peace by knowing the results and offers a better understanding of the individual's cancer risk. Should a mutation be evident, Dr. Breit can design a personal prevention program.
Testing for genetic cancer markers is a personal choice. Dr. Breit and the staff at Center for Women’s Health are there to help patients make a decision. Please feel free to contact the offices at any time with questions about hereditary cancer services.