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Hereditary Cancer & Genetics

Learn about genes and cancer, signs of hereditary cancer, genetic counseling, types of genetic tests and what results mean for you and your family.

Other hereditary cancers

Changes in BRCA1 and BRCA2 are most closely associated with increased risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

Other cancer syndromes can increase the risk for breast or ovarian cancer and may have other signs as well:

  • Lynch syndrome, aslo known as Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC) is a hereditary syndrome that can increase the risk for the following cancers:
    • colon (particularly under age 50)
    • ovarian
    • endometrial (uterine)
    • stomach
    • small intestine
    • bile duct
  • Cowden Syndrome (PTEN mutation) can increase the risk for the following cancers:
    • breast
    • thyroid (non-medullary)
    • Cowden Syndrome can also cause distinct skin lesions
  • Peutz-Jegher Syndrome (STK11 mutation) can increase the risk for the following cancers:
    • colon
    • breast
    • pancreas
    • Peutz-Jegher Syndrome can also cause multiple pigmented spots on lips and inner cheeks
  • Li-Fraumeni Syndrome (TP 53 mutation) can increase the risk for the following cancers:
    • breast
    • sarcomas (bony and soft-tissue)
    • brain tumors
    • childhood adrenocortical carcinomas

Other hereditary mutations have been identified that don’t increase the risk for breast or ovarian cancers but do increase the risk for other cancers. Any family with multiple individuals with the same cancer, very young onset cancers, or rare cancer types should consult with a genetics specialist regarding whether the cancer in family might be hereditary.

Additionally, there are families with multiple cases of breast cancer and/or ovarian cancer in which no mutation has been identified. These familial cancers likely have a hereditary component but the genetic cause has not yet been identified.

Updated 8/31/16

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