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When it comes to cancer, there are many factors that can increase your risk…
Age, diet, physical activity and even your weight all play into the equation.
Fortunately, they are also factors that you can control to limit your risk and hopefully avoid that cancer diagnosis.
However, there is one factor that significantly influences your chances of ending up with any number of deadly cancers that you’re simply born with — your genetics.
In fact, up to 10 percent of all cancers are thought to be related to gene mutations that are inherited or passed down through your family.
In other words, they are cancers you’re at higher risk for just because your family members were at higher risk. And while you may think the possibility of genetic cancer is something you can do little about because you can’t change your genes, think again…
The truth is, even if your genes indicate higher risk for cancer, there are still steps you can take to lower those risks. You can also ensure early detection, giving you the best chance of defeating the disease, if it develops, because you and your doctor will know what to look for.
Genetic testing delivers opportunity
You may have seen the advertisements on TV or the signs in your doctor’s office but if not, you should know that thanks to scientific advances, you can now get genetic testing to tell you whether or not you carry one of the genes that leads to cancer.
The ones that are most often tested for are BRCA1 and BRCA2. These are associated with breast and ovarian cancer in women and breast and prostate cancer in men, as well as a number of other types of cancer, including cancer of the pancreas.
Basically, a blood test or cheek swab will tell you if you have certain mutations in your DNA that can lead to these cancers. And you can have the testing done in your doctor’s office or order the test kits online.
Yet, despite how easy it is to find out, a new scientific study found that 80 percent of people with these mutations that could cost them their life had no idea.
Should you get tested?
Determining whether or not you should get tested is a personal decision but there are some guidelines to help.
The American Cancer Society suggests genetic testing if:
- You have a number of close relatives with cancer.
- Several of your relatives have the same type of cancer.
- You have close relatives with cancers linked to hereditary cancers such as breast, ovarian or prostate cancer.
- Your ethnicity predisposes you to a certain type of cancer.
- An exam shows physical findings linked to a hereditary cancer such as colon polyps found on a colonoscopy.
- A family member is diagnosed with a rare type of cancer such as a male with breast cancer.
- Other family member’s genetic testing shows mutations related to cancer-specific genes.
The good news is that by having yourself tested, you end up with peace of mind no matter what you find. You may discover you’re not at genetic risk for cancer at all. But if you find otherwise, then you’re armed with the knowledge that allows you to do two things: 1) take proactive steps to combat your risk, and 2) ensure any cancerous changes are detected early.
Editor’s note: Discover how to live a cancer prevention lifestyle — using foods, vitamins, minerals and herbs — as well as little-known therapies allowed in other countries but denied to you by American mainstream medicine. Click here to discover Surviving Cancer! A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Causes, Treatments and Big Business Behind Medicine’s Most Frightening Diagnosis!
- Should You Get Genetic Testing for Cancer Risk? — American Cancer Society
- Eight of 10 people with cancer risk genes don’t know it — Yale University