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Cancer Genetics

Is Cancer Inherited?

02/03/2010

Question:

My husband is of 25yrs. 2yrs back his mother died of stomach cancer. 7yrs back his uncle (mothers brother) died of leukemia. My husband has 2 brothers and he`s the youngest. Coming to my question, my husband has only one testicle, and I heard some where that this may lead to cancer.  Is this true?  Are there any measures we should take for screening or prevention?

Answer:

Men with a condition known as cryptorchidism (in which one or both of the testicles do not descend into the scrotum) are known to be at increased risk for testicular cancer.  It is not clear if this is the situation for your husband, so it might be a good idea for him to see a urologist to discuss his situation.  All men in their 20s and 30s should perform regular testicular exams.  The risk for testicular cancer is highest in men in this age range.  They can discuss how to do testicular exams with their doctors.

Your husband should also talk with his doctor about the family history of stomach cancers.  Stomach cancer can be seen as part of some hereditary cancer syndromes.  Without further information it is difficult to determine whether further genetic evaluation is appropriate.

Related Resources:

Testicular Cancer Treatment - NCI
Testicular Cancer Screening - NCI

For more information:

Go to the Cancer Genetics health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Duane D Culler, PhD, MS Duane D Culler, PhD, MS
Clinical Instructor of Genetics
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University