Cancer is a common disease – over 1,685,210 new cases were diagnosed in the United States in 2016. This means you shouldn't assume that cancer runs in your family just because one or more of your family members has/had cancer. However, some forms of cancers do run in the family, and it's good to know if this is the situation with your family. Here are four signs that cancer runs in your family:
The Disease Has Afflicted Multiple Generations in Your Family
Cancer that runs in the family usually attacks multiple generations. For example, it's likely that cancer runs in your family if your great grandparent had cancer, a grandparent had it, and one of your siblings is also battling the disease. However, the odds of cancer running in your family are low if only one generation, say two of your cousins, have the disease.
The Same Type of Cancer Has Affected Multiple Family Members
There are many types of cancer such as ovarian cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer and many others. If cancer runs in your family, then it's likely to be the same type of cancer. Therefore, if an aunt, grandmother, and cousin have all been affected by ovarian cancer, then it's possible that cancer runs in your family. However, the odds of it being family cancer syndrome reduce if multiple members of the family have been affected by cancer, but they are all different forms of the disease.
The Cancer You Are Battling Is Rare
Although cancer, in general, is a common disease, some forms of cancer are rarer than others. For example, penile cancer accounts for less than 1% of all cancers affecting men in the United States. Therefore, the chances of penile cancer affecting multiple members of your family are rare. The chances of penile cancer affecting multiple members of your family and it not being a case of family cancer syndrome are even rarer.
The Cancers Usually Attack Your Family Members at Young Ages
Most forms of cancers occur in adults. However, even cancers that are known to attack older generations sometimes occur in childhood or attack young adults. Therefore, when cancer strikes multiple members of your family in their childhood, then you are probably looking at a case of family cancer syndrome.
Never jump to a conclusion about cancer or diseases. If you want to know your chances of developing cancer, consult your family physician for a professional analysis. With the right information (such as your family history) the physician can gauge your cancer risks and advise you on how to lower them.
Contact a medical office like Snow Creek Medical Center for more information and assistance.