Genetic Predisposition Testing for Cancer

This includes wanting to know whether or not they are predisposed to getting a certain disease or disorder. Cancer is one disease about which people wonder. After all, in our current society we are suffering from a cancer epidemic. More and more people are getting cancer everyday and there are those who would prefer to know if they are at a higher risk for getting the disease.

Cancer is somewhat of a special disease because it affects each of its victims in such individual ways. It appears in specific areas of the body, manifests in different ways, and each person responds differently to treatment. No one is really sure what causes cancer or why it has become so prevalent in our society. What researchers have figured out is that just 10% of cancers are hereditary. The other 90% are due to environmental factors, such as diet, radiation, pollution, and the diminishment of the ozone layer. When it comes to the environmentally-caused cancers, the genes that cause the cancer develop during the life of the person. However, when it comes to the few cancers that are hereditary, there is actually a gene that is susceptible to mutation that is passed from parent to child.

The cancers that are hereditary include breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and bladder cancer. For those people who inherit a cancer-causing gene from a parent, this does not mean they will develop that cancer. The benefit of genetic predisposition testing for people who have hereditary cancer in their family is that, should they have inherited the cancer-causing gene from a parent, they will be forewarned. Since even hereditary cancers have an environmental factor in their formation, those who know that they have inherited the gene can make the necessary lifestyle and environmental changes to help reduce the chances that the disease will develop.

What aspects of a person’s lifestyle can they change to help minimize the chances of developing a hereditary cancer or any other kind of cancer? Really, these are things that we are told on a regular basis and that will help improve our overall level of health and well being. They include not smoking, limiting the intake of alcohol, getting regular exercise, keeping weight down, and eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. It is also important for those who find through genetic predisposition testing that they have the gene for a certain type of cancer to be examined on a regular basis to allow for early detection. This gives these people a better chance of curing the disease should they get it.

Ultimately, a known genetic predisposition to a disease does not sentence a person to developing that disease. Knowledge gives the power to take steps to ensure the disease does not develop, and since most cancers are caused by environmental factors, everyone would do well to follow the lifestyle advice given here.