Did you know that National Hereditary Cancer Week is September 24 – September 30?

While most cancers may seem random, others have a hereditary component, meaning they can be passed down through the generations of a family. National Hereditary Cancer Week is an occasion dedicated to raising awareness about these genetically influenced cancers and empowering individuals to take control of their health.

Hereditary cancers are those that occur due to inherited gene mutations. Individuals with a family history of certain cancers may carry genetic mutations that increase their susceptibility to these diseases. Some well-known hereditary cancer syndromes include BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, which are associated with breast, ovarian and prostate cancer risk, and Lynch syndrome, which is linked to colorectal, uterine and other cancers.

In honor of National Hereditary Cancer Week Matter, here are some ways you can make a difference:

  • Knowledge is Power: Take some time to learn about your family history of cancer and share what you learn with your healthcare provider. Knowing your family history can empower you in making informed decisions about your health.
  • Genetic Testing: If there are multiple cancers in your family, or individuals diagnosed with cancer under age 50, consider discussing genetic testing with your healthcare provider, and/or ask for a referral to Melanie Baxter, CGC, board-certified genetic counselor at the Saint Francis Cancer Institute. If appropriate, genetic testing could provide valuable insights into your risk of developing cancer.
  • Prevention Matters: Early detection and lifestyle choices can make a huge impact in our cancer risk. Healthy living can reduce your risk, and regular cancer screenings can improve the chances of catching cancer early.

National Hereditary Cancer Week shines a spotlight on the importance of understanding and addressing hereditary cancer risk. Knowledge is power, and together, we can work towards a future where these cancers are better understood and less threatening.