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What is Hereditary Cancer?

Hereditary cancer syndromes are caused by mutations (changes) in genes that are passed from parent to child, which cause a higher-than-normal chance of developing cancer.1

Hereditary cancer syndromes may cause specific patterns of cancer within a family such as multiple family members with the same type of cancer or cancer at younger ages. Some cancers known to be associated with these genes are breast, ovarian, prostate, pancreatic, endometrial, and colorectal cancer. Overall, 5-10% of all cancers are thought to be related to a hereditary cancer syndrome.1

Genetic testing for hereditary cancer syndromes can help identify your risk of developing cancer. Your healthcare providers may recommend you be screened for a hereditary cancer syndrome, especially if you have been diagnosed with cancer at an early age or if certain cancers run in your family.1

Genpath, a division of BioReference Laboratories, Inc., together with our sister company GeneDx, offers genetic testing for hereditary cancer.

Visit our GeneDx site to learn more about hereditary cancers.


  1. National Institutes of Health. Accessed April 22, 2019.
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