Cancer is a very common disease that millions worldwide are battling—and so it’s no surprise that many families have at least a few members who currently have a type of cancer or had one in the past. Hereditary cancer requires immediate attention—and hereditary factors and family history must be taken into account for all medical management recommendations. To stay safe, you should understand the warning signs of hereditary cancer. Have there been any early occurrences (<50 yo) of cancer in any of your family members? Have there been multiple cases of cancer in your family’s history? Hereditary cancer testing is the best way to understand your true risk.
You really need to understand your family’s cancer history. If there are early, multiple or rare breast cancers in the family, you may be at an increased cancer risk and may warrant an annual mammogram, MRI and hereditary cancer testing. If there are early, multiple or rare colon cancers in the family, you may face an elevated cancer risk and may warrant hereditary cancer testing and colonoscopies before the age of 50 at a frequency of more than once every ten years.
People with a hereditary cancer risk face an even greater need for cancer screening. You can do your part by being proactive and aware. Talk to your provider about cancer family history and hereditary cancers.
For more information on how you can protect yourself from the threat of hereditary cancers, please take a look at this infographic.