Some cancers seem to run in families. Learning about your family’s history of cancer can help you and your provider develop a prevention, screening and treatment plan that best fits your needs.
Take opportunities like family reunions and holidays to ask questions to understand your family’s history of cancer. Share your purpose with your family members. Have a conversation so they understand it’s not about predicting the future of their health, but that it will help you and your provider identify the risk for certain health problems.
Taking a genetic cancer risk assessment or having genetic testing are steps you may want to discuss with your provider. About 5% to 10% of all cancers are thought to be connected to a gene mutation, according to the American Cancer Society.
If you have a family history of cancer and want to learn your genetic risk, the genetic specialists at OSF HealthCare can walk you through what that entails. They’ll explain the results and help determine the best screening schedule and tools for your individual risk.
Even if you have a mutated gene, it does not mean you’ll get cancer. It does put you at a higher risk to develop certain cancers.