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Cancer in family

SabzKV
Posted by

Hi
my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer this time last year and finished her treatment in august. the same week as her finishing her treatment, my dads cousin was diagnosed with breast cancer and we have just been told my aunt on my mums side has found 2 lumps which have been tested and are cancer so she is about to start treatment. they've all had lots of stress recently and mum blames it on that, but im really worried its something in the family, and also that ive been under a lot of stress the past year with mums diagnoses, a tricky relationship and completing a masters and really worried that I might get/have it myself too now and I cant stop the anxiety about it.
is there anyone I can see/ speak to for support or even to have a scan to put my mind at rest?

thank you

sabrina

Elise - Macmillan
Posted by

Hello SabzKV,

Thanks for getting in touch and welcome back to our On-Line Community.

I’m sorry to read that your family have been so impacted by cancer recently. This must be a really worrying time for you all.

Many people worry about a possible link between stress and cancer but there is currently no reliable evidence to suggest that stress can cause cancer.

Many families will have several relatives who are diagnosed with cancer and there is no genetic link found. It’s thought that approximately 3%-10% of cancers are associated with an inherited faulty gene.

When a family has been impacted by one type of cancer it’s important to consider the possibility of a genetic link if:

  • there are 2 or more close relatives on the same side of the family (your mother's or your father's side) with the same type of cancer, or with types of cancer that are known to be linked – for example, breast and ovarian cancer or bowel and womb cancer
  • cancers are occurring at young ages (before the age of 50)
  • a close relative has had 2 different types of cancer (rather than 1 cancer that has spread)

We would suggest you speak to you GP about your worries about your family history of breast cancer . It can be helpful to know as much as possible about the types of breast cancer which have impacted your relatives before speaking to your GP. It would also be helpful for your GP to know if any faulty genes have been identified in your relatives, particularly your mum and what age they were when diagnosed. This information helps doctors work out if you are at an increased risk or not.

Coping with the worry about cancer can feel overwhelming at times and we have produced this information around the issues about worry about cancer which I hope you will find helpful.

As well as getting a better understanding about your cancer risk it’s also important to think about ways to manage your anxiety. This is something to also talk through with your GP but there is also lots of online support that you can access.

Anxiety UK have lots of useful information and advice as does MIND. This list of mental health apps (some of which are free) is often a good place to start to explore methods of managing anxiety.

I hope this information is helpful but don’t hesitate to get back in touch if you have further questions and of course you are welcome to call the Macmillan Support Line to talk things through too.

 

Best wishes and take care,

Elise

Cancer Information Nurse Specialist