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Genetics and family history Q&A: Wed 20 May 15, 12-1pm (Closed)

KateG - Macmillan
Posted by

MCW

If a parent has plasma cell leukaemia (I understand rare?) is it possible to test for a genetic marker of this and can I have such a test on the NHS?

Plasma cell leukemia is very rare and there is no evidence of the cause being hereditary. The exact causes of PCL are not fully understood.

It is estimated that 1 per million of the general population are diagnosed with primary PCL each year. You can read further information about it here.

Priscilla - admin
Posted by

Hi everyone,  is another of our nurses who has popped in to help.

It's been a busy chat today, so sorry if we haven't answered your question yet. We'll make sure one of our nurses posts an answer this afternoon.

L26H
Posted by

Thank you for your response. My old GP said I could possibly get tested but as my mum, my mums cousin and my mum's cousins daughter all have had or died from breast cancer but I don't find new GP that helpful. Thanks for your response 

Pat H
Posted by

Hi again,

have received your answer to my question. Would now like to ask you, If I was tested and had the BRACA gene does that mean my daughter would definitely have it too? So obviously the opposite , if I was tested and was found NOT to have the gene would this mean she wouldn't get it? I know genetics is very complicated so hope I am not asking a silly question. Thanks Pat

Patwas65now69

Mike_R
Posted by

Thank you, Josie. The info in that link was very interesting. I'm recovering well, just trying to get off all the painkillers I was put on. Thanks again.

Liz-Macmillan
Posted by

Debra.s

Hello, I lost my lovely dad in 2004 to Prostate Cancer. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer - Grade 2 in November 2009 at 47. I had a mastectomy, RT and am currently on Tamoxifan. I have been told by my Oncologist I will stay on medication for another 5 years. Not sure if that will be Tamoxifan or not as dependant on Estrogen levels.  Most non serious ailments my dad suffered from I have also had. So to be honest it was always in the back of my mind I would be diagnosed with some sort of cancer. I am concerned about whether I have  inherited the BRACA Gene. Would you think I should be tested and how do I get this done ?

Hi DebraS.

Generally speaking, cancer is not an inherited illness. The families who are most likely to carry a BRCA gene fault are families where we see 4 or more cases of linked cancers in close relatives. If your father had an early onset of prostate cancer, in his 40s or 50s, which is not a typical age of diagnosis, this could perhaps indicate a hereditary syndrome.

Many factors are taken into account when deciding if a person should have genetic testing and the first step would be to discuss your concerns with your Oncologist or GP. You can read more about genetic risk and testing here. Remember you can always call us here at Macmillan on 0808 808 0000 to talk through your concerns.

Liz - Macmillan

Liz-Macmillan
Posted by

Daizydoo

Hi. Not sure if this is relevant but just over two years ago my lovely sister was diagnosed with liver cancer. she was 55. She had surgery and treatment but sadly we lost her two months ago.  Almost a year after her diagnosis I was told I had womb cancer (65) but hopefully my outcome is better. Then  eight months ago my Mum (86) was told she had bladder cancer which hopefully has been treated and she is well. Is there any genetic  connection to these three cancers. I have a daughter who has two daughters so obviously worried...thank you...x

Hi Daizydoo,

I am sorry to hear how your family has been affected by cancer. As we have mentioned before in this discussion cancer is a common disease and generally speaking, it is not an inherited illness. There is currently no evidence to support a genetic link between the three cancers you mention. You and your daughters can read more about cancer risk in families here.

Liz - Macmillan

KateG - Macmillan
Posted by

Pat H

Hi again,

have received your answer to my question. Would now like to ask you, If I was tested and had the BRACA gene does that mean my daughter would definitely have it too? So obviously the opposite , if I was tested and was found NOT to have the gene would this mean she wouldn't get it? I know genetics is very complicated so hope I am not asking a silly question. Thanks Pat

Hi Pat

Genetics is very complicated and you are welcome to ask any question that may help you understand it better.If you are a BRCA mutation carrier, your daughter would have a 50/50 risk of having the faulty BRCA gene. If your test was negative your daughter would not have the gene but if there was a history in your husband’s close family there may be a risk. It is important to remember that even if the BRCA gene is present the person may not go on to develop breast cancer.

Josie - Macmillan
Posted by

rosalyn.s

Hi

I was diagnosed with BC in 2014 and it was hormonal, whatI want to ask is does everybody who has cancer get tested to see if they have the BRCA gene? I have two daughters and 1 son and although no member of my family had BC (mum,gran sisters) my dad and brother both died of bowel , liver,colon cancer and I am just a bit concerned for my kids 

Thank you

Rosalyn

Hi Rosalyn, Thank you for your question. Breast cancer is common and not always heredity. This would depend on many factors - normally looking at family history, age if diagnosed with cancer at a young age. It may reassure you to know only 5% - 10% of cancers are hereditary. You may find our OPERA tool useful – this is where you can assess whether there is a genetic link. If you are still concerned you could have a chat with your GP. I hope this helps.

 

Josie - Macmillan
Posted by

gym60

Hi

I have been wondering if there is such thing as a faulty gene in families that makes them more at risk of cancer.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and at the same time my middle son had hodgkin lymphoma.  My mother died of small cell lung cancer at 57 and her father died of hodgkin lymphoma at the same age.  Different cancers but is it bad luck or posdible genetic link

Thanks

Kare

 

Hi, thank you for your question. Most cancers are not caused by inherited faulty gene but may be caused by chance. It's not unusual to worry about having a genetic risk when many have been diagnosed in a family. We have an OPERA tool which can show if you’re at risk of carrying a faulty gene. If you are still concerned you could have a chat with your GP. We also have a good section on our website on which you might find useful on genetics. I hope this helps.

Priscilla - admin
Posted by

All of the questions have now been responded to, so that brings us to the end of today's Q&A.

Thanks to everyone who posted a question - I really hope it's been helpful. And, of course, big thanks to ,  and  for all their answers!

Our nurses now have to go back to their work on the Macmillan Support Line, so we won't be able to take any more questions here today.

I'll be locking this discussion, which means that you won't be able to post any new replies after this. 

However, if you still have questions, you can still talk to a nurse by giving us a call on the Macmillan Support Line (0808 808 0000, Mon-Fri, 9am-8pm, free from landlines and most mobile networks) or by sending them an email.

If you have any feedback about today's Q&A, we'd love to hear it - please get in touch on community@macmillan.org.uk.