Cancer: The family connection
A percentage of certain cancers, including colorectal, breast, ovarian, and melanoma, have a hereditary component that can be passed from one generation to the next. If you have a family history of cancer on either your mother's or father's side and/or a personal history of cancer, you should look for the following risk factors:
- Two or more family members on the same side of your family have had the same cancer
- A family member was diagnosed with cancer at an unusually young age (e.g. breast cancer at 45 years or younger; colon cancer at 50 years or younger)
- A clustering of related cancers (e.g. breast/ovarian, or colon/uterine) in the family
- A family member carries a known genetic mutation (e.g. BRCA1, BRCA2, MSH2, MLH1)
For people who want to learn more, genetic consultation is available through the Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program of Yale Cancer Center.
A genetic consultation will include:
- A detailed review of your family and medical history
- A risk assessment of the chance that the cancer in the family are hereditary
- A discussion of the risks, benefits and limitations of genetic testing
- An individualized schedule of screening examinations and discussion about cancer prevention
Genetic consultation is available for people who want to learn more.
Call (203) 764-8400.