Discover steps that will help you prepare to communicate your family medical history or genetic test results with relatives.

Sharing information about hereditary cancer with children

The cancer risks and average age of onset vary by gene mutation. For genes linked to childhood cancers, it is appropriate for children to be tested. For adult-onset genes, experts typically recommend waiting until after age 18 before deciding about testing. It is most helpful for people to consider genetic testing by the age at which experts recommend beginning screening and prevention. 

Even though genetic testing is not generally recommended for minors, some parents may wish to talk with their children about the cancer in the family. FORCE and the National Society of Genetic Counselors created a guide to help parents have a conversation about hereditary cancer with their minor children.

Last updated September 01, 2020