Hereditary Cancer

Most cancer isn't inherited, but about 5% to 10% of all cancers are linked to clearly inherited causes. Inherited cancers are important to find because they usually mean a higher risk of cancer for other family members. Cancer can be prevented or found early if people with a high risk are checked more often than usual.

Signs that cancer is more likely to be inherited are:

  • Cancer at an unusually young age — like breast, endometrial, or colon cancer before 50
  • More than one cancer in the same person, but not because one cancer spread to another place
  • The same cancer in more than one generation in a family
  • Rare cancers — like breast cancer in men or certain kinds of tumors

Breast Cancer: A Guide to Testing Options