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Which cancers are hereditary?
Scientists have discovered inherited gene mutations for certain types of cancer, including:
- adrenal gland cancer
- bone cancer
- brain and spinal cord cancers
- breast cancer
- colorectal cancer
- eye cancer (melanoma of the eye in adults and retinoblastoma in children)
- fallopian tube cancer
- kidney cancer, including Wilms tumour in children
- some types of leukemia and lymphoma
- hepatoblastoma (a rare type of liver cancer that affects children)
- neuroendocrine tumours
- oropharyngeal cancer
- ovarian cancer
- pancreatic cancer
- parathyroid gland cancer
- pituitary gland cancer
- prostate cancer
- skin cancers
- small intestine cancer
- soft tissue sarcoma
- stomach cancer
- testicular cancer
- thyroid cancer
- uterine cancer
Some gene mutations increase the risk of developing more than one type of cancer. For example, a gene mutation that increases a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer may also increase her risk of ovarian cancer.
Inherited gene mutations are often linked to a family cancer syndrome. Most are rare. Not everyone with a family cancer syndrome develops cancer.
Research is continuing to tell us more about specific genes that may put people at higher risk of developing these and other types of cancer.