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Signs of an Inherited Mutation
Learn how gene mutations can lead to cancer, what types of cancer may be hereditary and how parents can pass inherited mutations to their children.

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Hereditary Cancer and Genetic Testing > Hereditary Cancer > Signs of an Inherited Mutation

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Signs of an Linked to Cancer Risk 

If you or a relative have been diagnosed with cancer, it may be due to an . Signs of an or  include the following:

You have a blood relative who has tested positive for an inherited gene mutation linked to cancer.


You or any of your family members have had:

  • Pancreatic, ovarian, , primary peritoneal or male breast cancer at any age.
  • Breast, colorectal or endometrial cancer at age 50 or younger.
  • Two separate cancer diagnoses.
  • A type of breast cancer called “” at any age.
  • cancer at age 55 or younger or   cancer.
  • Colorectal cancer at any age with tumor testing that shows  () or other tumor test results that are suggestive of .
  • Endometrial cancer at any age with tumor testing that shows  () or other tumor test results that are suggestive of .
  • More than 10 colon .
  • Rare or young-onset cancers.
  • Tumor testing that shows a mutation in a gene associated with .
  • Eastern European Jewish ancestry and breast, ovarian or pancreatic cancer at any age.


More than one family member on the same side of your family has had a combination of the following cancers:

  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian, or primary peritoneal cancer
  • cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Rare or young-onset cancers

This is not a complete list; other cancers may be hereditary too. If you would like to learn if the cancer in your family is hereditary, it is important to speak with a genetics expert.

Key Facts about Hereditary Cancer
Key Facts about Hereditary Cancer

  • Both men and women can carry an linked to cancer. 
  • You don't need a large family history of cancer to have an linked to cancer. There are situations where a single case of cancer in a family is enough to prompt a referral to an expert known as a genetic counselor. Visit our section on Testing Guidelines for information on genetic testing listed by cancer type. 
Last updated January 11, 2022