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Is Cancer Genetic?

One of the biggest questions on people’s minds when it comes to cancer is whether or not it’s genetic. In a way, it can be. However, the majority of causes linked to cancer are lifestyle choices, such as smoking, just to name an example. The way that genetics affect cancer growth is that genes control the way cells work. Mutations or faults within cells are what leads to cancer growth and because of this, cancer can be inherited.

The Way Genetic Changes Lead to Cancer

In order to be a cancerous cell, a cell must have at least six faults or mutations. This stops the cell from functioning normally and causes it to become cancerous. Changes in a body’s cell can occur due to a number of reasons, from random mistakes during a cell’s division as a person grows older or due to the exposure to substances known as carcinogens. These types of gene changes won’t affect all body cells and aren’t inherited.

In some cases, a history of cancer in the family can just be coincidental. Cancer is relatively common, especially among older people, which means that it’s not uncommon for several persons in your family to have had cancer.

The Way Cancer Risks Are Passed On

So how exactly can cancer be hereditary? Some faulty genes that increase the risk of cancer can be passed from the parent to their child. These are known as inherited cancer genes. They happen when the genes within the egg or sperm cell contain a mistake or a fault.

Roughly five to 10 percent of all cancer cases happen to those who have inherited genetic mutations that raise their risk of developing cancer. Some of the mutations and syndromes that can increase cancer risk include BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations, Cowden syndrome, and multiple endocrine neoplasia.

Although a higher risk of developing cancer can be inherited, most cancers are caused by gene changes such as aging or lifestyle choices. To educate yourself on more health-related topics, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store today.


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