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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.


Genetic testing can find mutations in a gene called ATM

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), and possibly pancreatic, prostate and other cancers.  Ongoing research may identify other cancer risk, such prostate and pancreatic cancer in people with inherited ATM mutations. The PROMPT Study is a research registry enrolling people who have had panel testing in order to learn more about cancer risks associated with gene mutations like ATM

National guidelines recommend that women with ATM mutations undergo increased screening for breast cancer beginning at age 40, and consider risk-reducing mastectomy based on their personal and family history of cancer. Other options, including participating in detection and prevention research studies, may be available to manage risk.

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.

If you have tested positive for an ATM mutation, 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.


Updated 12/26/2017

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