Learn About Genetic Testing
Knowing your family history of cancer and discussing it with a health care provider are important steps in understanding your cancer risk. Genetic testing has the ability to detect mutations in cells, chromosomes, and proteins that are likely to increase one’s risk to cancer.
Although cancers with a strong connection to family history or genetics, called hereditary cancers, account for only about 10% of all cancers, people who get hereditary cancers and their families are—
- At higher risk for getting cancer more than once.
- More likely to get cancer at younger ages.
- More likely to be diagnosed when the cancer is advanced.
People with a family history of cancer can talk to a health care provider to see if they are at high risk of cancer themselves. If so, a health care provider could explain current recommendations for people at high risk, such as getting screening tests earlier or more often than people who are at average risk.
CDC is conducting research and developing programs to help people and families who have a high risk of getting cancer.
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