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Genes Associated with Hereditary Cancers

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


Inherited mutations in the ATM (Ataxia-Telangiesctasia mutated) gene are associated with increased risk of certain cancers. 

People who inherit a mutated copy of ATM from one parent are at increased risk of female breast cancer (up to 52% lifetime risk), pancreatic cancers, prostate and possibly other cancers.  Research to determine the exact cancer risk of inheriting a mutation in ATM from one parent is ongoing.

National guidelines recommend that women with ATM mutations undergo increased screening for breast cancer beginning at age 40. Other options, including participating in research studies, may be available to manage risk. We recommend consulting with a genetics expert who can assess your personal and family history of cancer, and can help you to determine the best risk-management plan.

Inheriting mutated copies of the ATM gene from both parents causes a rare childhood disease called Ataxia-Telangiesctasia (AT). Children with AT have progressive neurodegeneration, difficulty fighting infections, and increased cancer risk.

updated 07/28/17

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