Gyn Services

Hereditary Cancer Information

Gynecologic Cancer Treatment in San Francisco

There are certain types of cancer that can be heavily influenced by a person’s genetics. While some risk factors are associated with behaviors that you may have picked up from your family, such as smoking, hereditary cancers are those that can be inherited through abnormal genes.

All types of cancer affect a person’s cells as the disease causes them to go wild with abnormal growth and development. Genes make up part of these cells by controlling the proteins within them that everyone’s body needs to function properly.

Main Types of Hereditary Cancer

HNPCC or Lynch Syndrome

Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC), otherwise known as Lynch syndrome, is a type of inherited cancer syndrome that is linked to a predisposition to various types of cancer. This essentially means that those with Lynch syndrome have a much higher risk for particular types of cancer, such as:

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Endometrial/Uterine cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Small bowel/intestinal cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Bile duct cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Urinary tract cancer

Most cancers are sporadic, which means that they occur without any known cause. However, it is thought that Lynch syndrome is the root cause for approximately 3-5% percent of all colorectal cancer cases.

Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC)

Each of these cancers are associated with two specific genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2. It is a mutation of this gene that causes an individual’s predisposition to cancers of the breasts and ovaries.

A family member with these gene mutations is likely to pass it on to their offspring. An individual who inherits this mutation is more prone to certain cancers, but there is no certainty as to whether or not they will develop any of these types of cancers over the course of their lifetime.

Li-Fraumeni Syndrome

Li-Fraumeni syndrome is a very rare gene mutation that can impact an individual’s likelihood of developing several types of cancer, typically while at a young age. These kinds of cancer include:

  • Brain cancers
  • Leukemia
  • Breast cancer
  • Sarcoma

This syndrome most often presents itself in the TP53 gene, but has also been linked to mutations of the CHEK2 gene. Patients who have already had cancer due to Li-Fraumeni syndrome are also at an increased risk of developing cancer again later in life.