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Cancer Genetics

Inhereitability of Cancer



How is cancer actually passed down? How do the genes act etc.?


Most hereditary cancer syndromes are inherited in a dominant manner. This means that if a person carries an alteration in a cancer gene, they have a 50% chance of passing this on to their children. People that carry these alterations (carriers) have an increased risk to develop certain forms of cancer. Therefore, it is the susceptibility or chance of developing cancer that can be passed down through a family, rather than the cancer itself. Only 5-10% of all cancers are thought to be inherited.

For more information on how cancer genes are inherited and how they act, please refer to the Cancer Genetics Topic area of the Netwellness website. If you click on the link below, it will connect you to that page.

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Response by:

Rebecca J Nagy, MS, CGC Rebecca J Nagy, MS, CGC
Formerly, Clinical Instructor of Genetics
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University