Genetics And Risk, This Week On Your Cancer Today

Armen Hareyan's picture

Although only 25% of all cancers are due to genetic factors, patients that are aware of their family history are more able to be on the lookout for the early warning signs of cancer.

This week, we examine the issue of genetic links to cancer from both a medical and psychological prospective.


Cancer does run in families, but Dr. Stan Wasbin, Medical Director for Your Cancer Today, suggests it is misleading to think of cancer as a group of genetic diseases. He suggests we look at the link between genetics and cancer as a "non-modifiable risk factor."

Kim Banks, from St. Joseph's Hospital Genetic counseling program works with patients to help them detect and understand their genetic profile. Patients are encouraged to be proactive with their conditions.

Dr. Sheila Forman, Clinical Psychologist, member of the Your Cancer Today Medical Advisory Board, suggests that knowing your risks is always better than not knowing. Knowledge can lead to early detection, the most effective weapon in the fight against cancer.

Your Cancer Today interviews a mother and her daughter who have gone through genetic testing for breast cancer. Their stories help illustrate the advantages of knowing your risks and keeping your options open.