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World Health Day 2018: how to prevent cancer even if it runs in your family!

Some health experts believe that cancer can also be caused by genetic mutations and its risk can multiply if it runs in your family.It can also be caused by abnormal genes that get passed to the next generations by those affected. In such a case, it is not cancer which is inherited but the abnormal genes, which may or may not cause cancer. To prevent the risk of cancer, you must keep certain things in mind. We talked to Dr. Pramod Kumar Julka, Senior Director – Oncology Daycare Centre, Max Super Speciality Hospital, and Saket and got effective tips to prevent cancer if it runs in your family.

Types of cancer that can be inherited

Researchers say that “there are a number of mutations that can be responsible for risk of inheritable cancer. Breast cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer as well as some other types of cancer may affect the forthcoming generations through heredity.”

Cancer susceptibility genes or inherited cancer genes:- There are certain faulty genes that can increase the risk of cancer and can be passed from parent to child. When there is a fault in the genes of the sperm cell or in the egg, it increases the risk of cancer in the child.

What is a strong family history of cancer?

Strong family history means two or more close relatives on the same side of your family have had cancer. Another thing that adds to the risk is if both the sufferers have had the same type of cancer or maybe a different type of cancer that was caused by the same gene fault. In case, the cancer was developed when they were under the age of 50, you are more susceptible to the disease.

Here’s what you can do prevent inherited cancer

  1. Regular check-ups: If cancer runs in your family or if you have a strong family history of cancer, you must visit a doctor at least once in six months, depending on your health. cancer can even occur at an early age. He says that if you are susceptible to breast cancer and if you are in your 20s, regularly do self-examination. If you’re in your 30s, clinical examination is recommended and for women who are in their 40s and above, they must go for a mammography test.
  2. In case of BRCA mutations: BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes that help in creating tumor-suppressing proteins. If in case there is any mutation in these genes, they fail to produce these proteins and can’t suppress the tumor. Inherited mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 are noted to increase the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Also, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, peritoneal cancer and fallopian tube cancer are linked with BRCA mutations. “Some people opt for breast or ovary removal; it may cure cancer but it’s not a 100 percent guaranteed treatment. If cancer runs in your family, especially where there are chances of BRCA mutations, contact your doctors at an early age,” says Dr. Julka.
  3. Lifestyle changes: Dr. Julka saidExercise regularly, avoid sedentary habits, avoid salty and junk foods and maintain a healthy weight. These are some of the lifestyle changes that help you prevent cancer if it runs in your family”
  4. Awareness:  awareness should be spread among people about cancer, its effects, and preventive measures, not all lumps are cancerous. They should be properly examined.
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