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Facts & Myths

There is a lot of misinformation about hereditary cancer, so we're breaking down some of the most persistent myths and giving you the real facts instead.

Myth: Hereditary cancer is common in families with a history of cancer.
Fact: Most families do not have hereditary cancer. Almost everyone has a relative who has had cancer. In large families, several relatives may have had cancer. Hereditary cancer happens when a change (mutation) in a gene is passed down from one generation to the next. Less than 1 cancer in 10 is hereditary.
   
Myth: Family history is the biggest risk factor for cancer.
Fact: Age is the biggest risk factor for most types of cancer. About 7 cancers in 10 occur in people aged 60 years or older. Other common risk factors include smoking and diet.
   
Myth: Cancer in close relatives on both sides of the family indicates hereditary cancer.
Fact: Each side of the family is assessed separately for signs of hereditary cancer. Family history of concern must be on the same side of the family.
   
Myth: Travel to Vancouver is required to take part in the Hereditary Cancer Program.
Fact: In-person appointments are available in: Abbotsford, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Prince George, Surrey, Vancouver and Victoria. Hereditary cancer consultation by video conference is available for many sites across BC and the Yukon.

SOURCE: Facts & Myths ( )
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