Most cancer is not inherited. Cancer often happens because of a combination of many factors including genetics, your environment, lifestyle behaviors, and chance events. The majority of people with cancer do not have a family history of cancer.
A small number of people have inherited a change in their DNA from their mother or father. In those families, the change in the DNA increases the risk of developing cancer. If you are concerned about your family history of cancer, you may want to talk with a genetic counselor. Genetic counselors help to interpret all potential information including family history, diagnostic information and genetic test results. Genetic counseling includes:
- Evaluating family history and medical records
- Discussing the option of genetic testing
- Reviewing the results of testing
- Helping individuals and families understand
and reach decisions about what to do next