What is cancer?
Cancer is the disease caused by the uncontrollable growth and division of abnormal cells in
the body. When a mutation occurs in a gene and no longer functions like it should protect
the body, there may be an increased risk of developing cancer.
What causes cancer?
Majority of the cancer is classified as Somatic Cancer – which happens sporadically, has no
evidence of family history or genetic risks.
- Physical carcinogens e.g. ultraviolet and ionizing radiation
- Chemical carcinogens e.g. tobacco smoke, aflatoxin (a food contaminant)
- Biological carcinogens e.g viruses, parasites
A small percentage of cases are inherited or called Hereditary Cancer.
All of us have a 50/50 chance of inheriting a gene mutation from your parents, or grandparents.
Hereditary Cancer Risk Levels
- High risk
- 50% increased risk of developing cancer compared to general population.
- Medium risk
- 20 to 50% increased risk of developing cancer compared to general population.
- Low risk
- 20% increased risk of developing cancer compared to general population.
Examples of Hereditary Cancer
Who should undergo genetic testing for Hereditary Cancer Syndromes?
There are some features in a person’s personal and family medical history that suggest a hereditary cancer syndrome. They include:
- Cancer diagnosed at a young age
- Detected multiple cancer types in the affected individual
- Cancer in paired organs, eg. Bilateral breast cancer
- Detected same cancer type in multiple relatives
- Unusual cancers, eg. Male breast cancer
- Presence of birth defects such as benign skin growths or skeletal abnormalities known to be associated with inherited cancer syndromes
- Being a member of an ethnic group known to have increased risk for hereditary cancer syndrome, eg. BRCA mutation in Hereditary Breast and Ovarian cancer in Ashkenazi Jewish.
Individuals who have similar personal and family medical histories can consider undergoing genetic testing for Hereditary Cancer Syndromes.
Hereditary Breast Cancer
- BRCA 1 and 2
- High Risk Breast Cancer Panel
Hereditary Ovarian Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer Test
Hereditary Colorectal Cancer
- Colorectal Cancer Test
Hereditary Pancreatic Cancer
- Pancreatic Cancer Test
Hereditary Kidney Cancer
- Kidney Cancer Test
Hereditary Paraganglioma / Pheochromocytoma Cancer
- PGL/PCC Susceptibility Test