Change Type Size Print Friendly Page Email Page

Hereditary Cancer Predisposition Conditions

Though no one is immune to developing cancer, some individuals are at higher risk than others due to an inherited predisposition that can be passed from generation to generation.

Hereditary predisposition accounts for about 5 to 10 per cent of cancer and has been associated with various kinds of cancers, including:

  • breast cancer: the average woman's lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is about 12%, but an inherited predisposition can increase that risk to up to 85%. Men with an inherited predisposition also face an increased risk of developing breast cancer
  • colon cancer: the average individual's lifetime risk of developing colon cancer is about 5%, but an inherited predisposition can increase that risk to 80% or higher
  • ovarian cancer: the average woman's lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer is less than 2%, but an inherited predisposition can increase that risk to up to 45%
  • prostate cancer: the average man's lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer is about 16%, but a family history of the disease can double or even triple that risk
  • pancreatic cancer: the average individual's lifetime risk of developing pancreatic cancer is less than 2%, but a family history of the disease can significantly increase that risk
  • thyroid cancer: the average individual's lifetime risk of developing thyroid cancer is about 1%, but a family history of the disease can significantly increase that risk

For many of these cancers, preventive, screening and risk reduction or management strategies are available. The NCH Genetic Counseling Team helps patients identify and manage an inherited predisposition to developing cancer. In addition, the Team:

  • consults with healthcare providers to raise awareness of hereditary cancer predisposition and to identify patients who may benefit from genetic counseling
  • partners with patients' physicians, the NCH Breast Center, NCH Gastroenterology Center, NCH Prostate Center, Illinois Center for Pancreatic and Hepatobiliary Diseases (ICPHD) and other resources to improve access to services for patients at increased risk of developing cancer
  • provides recommendations for care of patients at increased risk of developing cancer
  • supports physicians in making informed testing and treatment decisions

For more information, contact our genetic counselor, Avis Gibons, at 847.618.6662.

Sources: American Society of Clinical Oncology, National Cancer Institute

Back To Top
Last Updated 2013/02/15