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What Are The Chances of Transferring Cancer Genes Across Generations?

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Transferring genes and cells across generations is simply another way of talking about inheriting genes - in this case, those that cause cancer. We know that family history is an important factor in the development of Breast Cancer. Every woman is encouraged to examine her breasts – especially those with a family member who has had breast cancer – male or female.


Genes in Cancer Development

Certain genes have been identified which do run in families - the BRCA1 and BRC2 are the most popular examples.

They are associated with certain cancers like those of the breast, bowel or ovaries.

When there is a family history of cancer, it is not possible to predict future risk exactly.

However, we use certain factors to consider the possible increased risks that could occur.

If a woman is concerned about developing breast cancer, what can she do to identify her risks?

In this case, we would have to consider family history and relatives in relation to the woman's risk of developing cancer.


How does Family History relate to Breast Cancer?

First-degree family history for a woman refers to her mother, father, daughter, son, sister, and brother.

A second-degree family history refers to her grandparents, grandchildren, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, half-sister, and half-brother.

According to research from the UK National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), we know that:

  • "The risk of breast cancer in women with an affected first-degree relative is approximately twice the risk in other women.
  • The risk of breast cancer increases with the number of affected relatives
    • It increases as the age of those affected decreases.
  • Only a minority of this increase in risk is due to the presence of gene mutations
    • Examples are: BRCA1, BRCA2, or TP53.
  • The presence of other malignancies in addition to female breast cancer increases the likelihood of having a BRCA1/2 gene mutation.
    • Examples that can happen in a family are ovarian, prostate, pancreatic cancer or male breast cancer,
  • The presence of some other cancers increases the likelihood of having a TP53 gene mutation
    • Examples include early-onset sarcoma and childhood cancers, such as adrenal carcinoma.


Conclusion

So yes, transferring genes and cells across generations leads to developing breast cancer.

And why women with a family history need to be vigilant.

With a family history of cancer - awareness of risks, monitoring and avoiding the other known risk factors is crucial.


More Reading

Edited by AskAwayHealth Team

Disclaimer

All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising Medical Practitioners on a wide range of health care conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality health care. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified health care practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly through info@askawayhealth.org

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