Genetic Cancers Run in Families. Let’s Stop it this Generation.

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You and your family can help fight back against the emperor of all maladies.

The PhosphorusONE test looks at the most exhaustive list of genes known to cause inherited cancer syndromes. Understanding whether or not you or a loved one carries a mutation in these genes can help catch cancer before it’s too late.

What can genetics tell us about cancer?

The most recent data from the CDC shows that 1 in 3 people will get cancer during their lifetime. While this number has increased as life expectancy has risen, cancer has become one of the leading causes of death in the United States.

Cancer used to be considered a ‘disease of the old’. By and large it affects those who have lived longer. However, many cancers affect people under age 60, some even under age 30. It has been shown recently that upwards of 15% of all cancers can be linked to genetic causes – these are the types of cancer likely to impact younger patients. 

Screening for Inherited Cancers

In the past 5 years, screening for inherited cancer has become much more mainstream. In particular, Angelina Jolie helped call international attention to the BRCA1/2 genes and how mutations in these genes can cause inherited breast and ovarian cancer syndrome.

To date, >80 genes have been discovered to be directly responsible for inherited cancer syndromes. Medical guidelines have been developed for families with a history of cancer to be recommended testing for many of these genes: understanding your status can help guide you to screening for cancer sooner rather than later.

Why would I want to know?

Cancer is a terrible disease, and knowing you are at increased risk can be scary. If you are not certain you want to know your status just yet, a conversation with a board certified genetic counselor may be a less invasive first step. They can help you understand, based on your family and medical history, whether or not a genetic test is essential at this point in your life.

Ultimately, it is important to understand that a genetic variant that puts you at risk for an inherited cancer is not in any way a death sentence. Many individuals with these mutations never develop cancer during their lifetime. However, as the saying goes, knowledge is power, and you always have the option to empower yourself - now or in the future and the more proactive you are, the more you and your doctor can work on planning ahead. This can include steps such as increased surveillance and targeted medication.

Taking these steps now, gaining insight into your any potential illnesses can be intimidating, but the “future you” will thank you for investing in something so critical: Your health!