The Genetics of Cancer - Family History and Mutations
Did you know that cancers are caused mostly because of damage to the cellular DNA. Such changes are known as genetic/gene mutation. Genes can mutate in your body in a gradual manner but cells that have too many mutations lose their functions and start growing uncontrollably. They further turn cancerous. Read on to know how gene mutations are passed on in the family, and which cancers are hereditary.
Acquired gene mutations and cancer
Genetic mutations can cause cancer but it takes a long time for the cells to become dangerously cancerous. Gene mutations that start building up in your cells are called somatic mutations - they are caused by damage to the genes over a period of time. These are some of the causes of mutation:
- Hormone exposure
- Environmental toxicity
- Viral effects
Inherited gene mutations and cancer
A person inherits copies of genes from both the parents at the time of their conception. If one of the parents has gene damage, they can pass it on to the child, and the child can pass the same to their children. This is how a family history forms. A gene mutation that is passed on from your parents is called inherited gene mutation. But an inherited gene mutation doesn’t mean you will surely get cancer. It means that you are at risk that you can prevent by making appropriate lifestyle changes.
Facts about inherited/hereditary cancer
- Mutations in different genes can increase your risk for various cancers
- Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer are related to mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, and they can increase your risk for breast, ovarian, pancreatic, and prostate cancers
- Lynch syndrome are the mutations in EPCAM, MLH1, MSH2, MSH6 and PMS2 genes that can increase your risk for colorectal, endometrial and other cancer types
Understand your cancer risk with genetic testing to take precautions against the disease
You can get a predictive genetic testing done to see if you have inherited gene mutations that put you at higher risk of developing any kind of cancer. It helps you understand your likelihood of developing cancer in your lifetime. Genetic testing uses gold standard science to look for specific alterations in your DNA, genes, and chromosomes to evaluate your risk score towards cancers. Your genetic test report is a valuable resource for you to plan your food, exercise and lifestyle strategies in a way that suits your body, and prevents diseases. Know your genetic risk for cancer; book your genetic test kit now.