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 Genetic Counseling Shared Resource 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
For more information about cancer genetic counseling, please visit Cancer Genetic Counseling Shared Resource
of Yale Cancer Center or call 203.764.8400.