Cancer is common. Hereditary cancer is not.
Hereditary cancer is due to a single gene mutation passed down in a family. Individuals born with the gene mutation have an increased risk to develop specific types of cancer.
Only 5% to 10% of cancers are related to an inherited gene mutation. When these gene mutations occur, we often see a strong family history
of cancer following a pattern. Most families do not have hereditary cancer.
Careful screening of those at risk for hereditary cancer may help with early detection. Many cancers can be cured if they are detected early.
The Hereditary Cancer Program is part of the BC Cancer Agency. The program offers services to families and individuals across British Columbia and the Yukon. Services include genetic counselling and information about cancer screening. People at risk of hereditary cancer may also be offered genetic testing.