Does cancer run in families?



There are two ways with which cancer targets the body. If a person is diagnosed with cancer due to environmental changes, then it is called acquired cancer. This type of cancer has affected the maximum cases of cancer throughout the globe. However, if a person is diagnosed with cancer due to heredity, then it is called germline cancer. This mode of cancer passes from parent to child through sperm or egg. 

An abnormal change or error in a normal cell is called a mutation. The American Cancer Society (ACS) website has shown that cancer is common but only about 5 per cent to 10 percent of all cancer cases occur due to heredity. Moreover, the National Health Service (NHS) website suggests that most cancers arise from a combination of risk factors that includes family history.

A baby receives two copies of genes – one from each parent. When a baby gets an abnormal cancer cell from one parent, the chance of acquiring cancer increases. However, the baby can continue to live a normal life if the other gene is healthy. In such a case, a healthy gene suppresses the abnormal gene to avoid cancer throughout life. 

That being the case, the chance of cancer due to family history increases when a baby receives cancer-causing copies of genes. In this case, abnormal cell growth continues to spread throughout the body at a very young age.

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Disclaimer
Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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