No one should face hereditary cancer alone.

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Hereditary Cancer Info > Hereditary Cancer > Talking With Your Family

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Talking With Your Family

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


By definition, hereditary cancers affect entire families. Inherited gene mutations can be passed through the generations from mothers and fathers to sons and daughters. Blood relatives, even distant relatives may share the same mutation that runs in a family. For these reasons, it's important for people to know their family history of cancer and to share their personal medical history with relatives. 

Communicating with family

Families share more than genes, physical features, and medical traits. Other common elements—backgrounds, relationships, and dynamics—sometimes affect communication between family members. Visit this section for information and resources on communicating with your family. 

Your family medical history

Geneticists experts examine a family’s medical history to determine the likelihood that the cancer in the family is hereditary. Visit this section for information on which medical information should be collected and shared.  

Sharing information with children

Visit this section for information and resources for sharing risk information with adult and minor children. 

Updated 08/11/2017

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