Genetic Counselor Kimberly Banks shares if all form of cancer are hereditary.
Genetic Counselor Kimberly Banks:
All cancer, about 5-10% is hereditary. If you look at different types of cancer, it’s a different proportion. So, for breast cancer, it’s about 5-10%. For colon cancer, about 10%. For melanoma, more like 1-3%, For a certain type of thyroid cancer, as much as 25%. So it really varies, but if you look at the whole, about 5-10% of all cancer is genetic.
There is about 20% of cancer that we classify as familial, which is usually confusing, because people think, “I have family history. That must be genetic.” When we think about genetic versus familial, with hereditary or genetic cancer, that’s a single genetic cause or mutation that, if that mutation’s there causes a very high risk for cancer, and there’s that single underlying explanation.
Within familial cancer, most of us have a family history of cancer of some type of cancer so that would put us in the familial category. It’s usually not the high risk where there’s a single gene that looks like it might be the cause, but there’s this family history for whatever reason that we don’t know that does impart a moderate level of risk, but not a high level of risk. So as part of what we go through with the patients is, “Are you high, are you average, or you are in the middle?” And where you are tells us how to take care of you.
About Kimberly Banks, M.S., C.G.C.:
Kimberly Banks, M.S., C.G.C., is the Program Coordinator and a Genetic Counselor at The Cancer Genetics Program in The Center For Cancer Prevention and Treatment at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California. Kimberly received her master’s degree in Genetic Counseling from California State University, Northridge, and conducted her fellowship at City of Hope National Medical Center. She is board certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling.
Visit Kimberly Banks at St. Joseph Hospital Cancer Genetics Program: