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Do you know your family’s health history? It’s important to ask your parents, grandparents and siblings whether they’ve had colorectal cancer or polyps during a screening.

When it comes to colorectal cancer, about 1 in 4 patients have a family history of colon cancer that could suggest a genetic and/or hereditary factor.

Hereditary cancer occurs when a gene that normally helps to prevent cancer is altered (or mutated). People with hereditary cancers are more likely to have relatives with the same, or related, type of cancer. Additionally, they often develop cancer at an earlier-than-average age and may also develop more than one cancer in their lifetime.

Hereditary cancer genetic tests analyze the DNA of genes known to be associated with certain types of cancers for changes or alterations. A single mutation may increase the risk for several different cancer types while several mutations may increase the risk for a single type of cancer.

With new genetics breakthroughs and discoveries coming out every day, we continue to invest in this field.

That’s why we’ve partnered with fourteen organizations to co-author a new paper entitled, “Understanding Hereditary Cancer in the Era of Multi-Gene Panel Testing.”

The paper offers key insights into the changing needs of individuals and family members who might be at risk for hereditary cancer. It also includes a background on cancer genetics, highlights considerations for individuals, their families and health care providers and calls for continued collaboration among advocacy groups.

To access “Understanding Hereditary Cancer in the Era of Multi-Gene Panel Testing,” please visit www.geneticpaneltesting.org.

Individuals should discuss their cancer family history with a genetic counselor or other qualified healthcare professional. 

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