Cancer Prevention for Family Members

Cancer Prevention for Family Members

The evidence that a family history of cancer is associated with increased risk of that cancer is generally quite consistent, especially for colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers diagnosed at young ages (before age 50). Thus, family members of people with cancer may wish to pay particular attention to measures they can take that may decrease their risk of cancer.

Even among people with an inherited risk of cancer, dietary and physical activity factors may delay or prevent the development of cancer.

People concerned about the possibility of having inherited an increased risk of developing cancer should speak with a genetic counselor or physician with training and experience in cancer genetics.

Based on the family history and, in some cases, genetic testing, an intensified program of early detection, prophylactic surgery, and chemoprevention may be considered. In addition, family members who wish to reduce their risk of cancer should follow the ACS Guidelines for Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention. Following these guidelines may also reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.2-6

Ann's NOTE: So few cancers can actually be shown to be caused by inherited genes that a real concern is the environment in which the family member grew up. Exposures, stresses, etc.

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