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Cancer Genetics

Inheritability of Leukemia

07/26/2002

Question:

My grandfather had leukemia. Is it possible to be through heredity? Also, my father had an aneurysm? Is that also hereditary?

Answer:

This question has been forwarded by Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders: A very small percentage of cases of leukemia are hereditary. In these families there are clues that we look for in the family history. These include more than one individual with leukemia or a related cancer (lymphoma, childhood brain cancer or bone cancer, breast cancer in young women and adrenal cancer), and a earlier age at onset than what is typically seen in the general population. Families that do not have these characteristics have a very low chance of carrying an abnormal gene that could be causing the cancers in the family. For example in a family where one individual developed leukemia in his 60`s or 70`s, the chance of it being hereditary is very low. If you are concerned about your family history and would like to discuss this in more detail, I would recommend making an appointment with a genetic counselor in your area. The genetic counselor will take your family and medical history and address your concerns. If you follow the link below, it will help you find someone in your area. In regard to your question about aneurysm and heredity, that question does not fall within the scope of my topic area or that of any other current NetWellness expert. However, the number of available "Ask an Expert" topic areas continues to increase, so be sure to check back. To help you find an expert that can answer a particular question, there is a "topic description" located at the top of each "Ask an Expert" topic area. Another option is to discuss this with your physician.

Related Resources:

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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