When a person is diagnosed with cancer, it’s only natural for them to ask, “Why me?” – especially when they’ve gone to great lengths to lead a healthy lifestyle.
After all, isn’t eating the right foods, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, refraining from smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption suppose to reduce your risk of cancer? Yes, but there’s another factor that may be at work, your genes.
All forms of cancer begin due to a fault with or mutation in a gene in a cell. As a result of these faults, the cell may stop working properly and subsequently become cancerous, incessantly dividing and replicating. While most gene changes occur during one’s lifetime, some can be inherited from a parent. Thus, you may have an increased risk of certain types of cancer due to an inherited gene.
Genetic researchers estimate that 3-to-10-percent of all cancers diagnosed are related to an inherited gene. Inherited cancer genes get passed down when there is a genetic fault in an egg or sperm cell that is passed onto children created by that egg/sperm combination. Our genes normally protect us from cancer by correcting DNA damage that occurs when cells divide. However, inherited genes with a susceptibility to cancer are unable to repair damaged DNA, so there is a greater risk the cells will eventually become cancerous.
Of course, inheriting one faulty gene doesn’t necessarily mean a person will have cancer in their lifetime, but there is a higher risk of developing certain types of cancer such as:
- Uncommon or rare types of cancer
- Those occurring at younger than usual ages than usual (e.g. colon cancer in a young adult)
- More than one type of cancer at the same time (e.g. breast and ovarian cancer)
- Those that occur in both pair of organs (e.g. both breasts, kidneys)
- Those occurring in the gender not usually affected (e.g. male breast cancer)
- Those occurring in multiple generations
Obviously, your chances of having an inherited faulty gene depends on your family history. The more of your relatives and ancestors who have had the same type of cancer and the younger they were when they were diagnosed, the more likely your cancer may be caused by an inherited faulty gene. This is especially the case when more than two close relatives on the same side of the family have developed cancer before the age of 50.
If you have a family history of cancer, or have a known gene fault, it is important to have your health regularly monitored by your doctor, who may also suggest treatment aimed at reducing your risk of developing cancer. In fact, you can learn more about these options if you undergo genetic testing.
If you have already been diagnosed with cancer and you’re not sure where to turn, contact CyberKnife Center of Miami.
CyberKnife is an FDA-cleared, non-invasive, painless radiation treatment that is not only an alternative to open surgery in many cases, but also an alternative to conventional radiation therapy. It utilizes image-guided robotics to precisely and non-invasively target and destroy tumors and other lesions using multiple beams of high-energy radiation, while leaving healthy surrounding tissue unscathed. The procedure doesn’t require anesthesia and there is no downtime or hospitalization.
To learn more about the CyberKnife system and how we can help restore your health, call the CyberKnife Center of Miami today at (305) 279-2900.