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Learn more about genetic mutations. Patient Central can also give you more information on hereditary syndromes linked to pancreatic cancer. Having a genetic condition related to pancreatic cancer does not mean a person will definitely get pancreatic cancer. But it does mean they may be more likely to get the disease than others. If you think you may be at risk for pancreatic cancer, talk to your doctor or genetic counselor. A genetic counselor can give you information on genetic testing and help figure out which tests may be right for you.

The only way to be sure you have a mutation associated with pancreatic cancer is to meet with a genetic counselor and get tested. Genetic counselors are trained in the medical and emotional aspects of inherited diseases. An oncology genetic counselor specializes in counseling and educating people with cancer and their family members who may have a higher chance of developing cancer. Learn more about genetic counseling. Genetic testing looks for inherited mutations. So, this analysis is usually done on a blood or saliva sample. A recent study suggests all people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, regardless of family history, should have genetic testing.

If genetic testing shows a germline mutation, then their loved ones could consider getting tested also. Carriers of a genetic alteration are at higher risk than most people.

What Is Hereditary Cancer?

But this does not mean that they will definitely develop the disease. Genetic tests can be expensive. Insurance may cover the testing, but not always. Genetic counselors can help by telling your insurance company the importance of genetic counseling and having the testing covered for you.

Talk to your doctor or a genetic counselor to choose the tests and next steps that are right for you. If a genetic counselor believes you are at a higher risk for developing the disease:.

What causes cancer?

For information on surveillance programs in your area and a list of genetic registries, contact Patient Central. In a surveillance, early detection or screening program, doctors actively check people who are at risk of getting pancreatic cancer. The goal is to find early pancreatic cancer and pre-cancerous lesions.

Patients whose disease is found in its earlier stages have better outcomes. This is because they are more likely to be able to have surgery.

Family History and Cancer

Surveillance programs usually use imaging tests to watch patients. They may also collect blood or pancreatic fluids to test. Before enrolling in a surveillance program, you should understand the risks and benefits of screening. The healthcare professionals running the program can help you with this. Genetic or family registries collect information about families with multiple pancreatic cancer diagnoses. The goal is to find common aspects in families with multiple pancreatic cancer cases that will lead to better understanding of the disease.

Registries are vital to research on hereditary pancreatic cancer causes. If you have been diagnosed or have taken care of someone diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and would like to contribute to research, join our Patient Registry.

Besides increasing risk for pancreatic cancer, some germline mutations affect treatment options for those who get the disease. Every pancreatic tumor is different. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network strongly recommends molecular profiling of your tumor to help determine the best treatment options. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network recommends all pancreatic cancer patients receive genetic germline testing, as well as genetic counseling.

Hereditary Cancer Syndromes | MD Anderson Cancer Center

If testing shows a germline mutation, then their loved ones could consider testing as well. If you have a family member who died of pancreatic cancer but do not know if there is a familial link or possible inherited mutation:. Contact Patient Central for free, in-depth information about pancreatic cancer risk factors, genetic tests, genetic counseling and screening and surveillance programs. Genes are the underlying reason why many diseases such as CRC affect some families more often.

For this reason, it is important to provide physicians with a detailed family history of cancer. There are three broad classifications of CRC, two of which have a genetic component. The data below show the respective percentages for each type. It is not directly related to genetics or a family history. About 1 in 20 Americans develop this type of CRC. When a person is the first family member to be diagnosed with CRC, they should inform close relatives. People with a family history are advised to receive screenings at a younger age.

Genes, mutations, and cancer

Some families are predisposed to CRC. If a family has more than one relative with CRC, especially if it occurred before age 50, there is reason for concern.


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The risk for family members doubles when a first degree relative parent, sibling or child has it. People with a close relative with CRC or colorectal polyps should receive their first screening at age 40, or 10 years before the youngest age at which the relative was diagnosed. These screenings should be done every five years, even if the test was normal. Hereditary colorectal cancers are associated with a specific inherited genetic abnormality.

As genetic researchers continue to define certain syndromes, more genes that predispose one to CRC will likely be identified. Currently, some of the syndromes include:. Family history information enables your colon and rectal surgeon to assess your risk of CRC and formulate the best plan for prevention and treatment. It is important to share the following:.