Hereditary Cancer

About 5-10% of cancer is hereditary and due to a genetic mutation. Individuals who are at risk for hereditary cancer may have one or more of the red flags listed below:

  • Cancer diagnosed at an early age
  • Cancer in two or more closely related relatives
  • Multiple generations in the family with cancer
  • Multiple primary tumors in one person
  • Bilateral or rare cancers
  • Constellation of tumors consistent with a specific cancer syndrome
  • Certain ethnic backgrounds (e.g., Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry)

Individuals who have a mutation in a cancer predisposition gene have a higher risk for developing certain types of cancer. Examples of hereditary cancer syndromes include: BRCA-Related Breast and/or Ovarian Cancer Syndrome, Lynch Syndrome, Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, or Familial Adenomatous Polyposis. One gene can be associated with several different cancers, and one cancer can be caused by several different genes.