Glossary
January 16, 2009 – Jennifer M. Gangloff
Breaking News from ASCO
June 09, 2006 – Staff Reports
House Call
June 09, 2006 – Jay Thomas, MD, PhD
Breast Cancer & MDS
January 09, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Bookshelf
June 09, 2006 – Kathy LaTour
Web Exclusive: Follow-Up Care for Skin Cancer
June 09, 2006 – The National Cancer Institute
Weighing Prevention Versus Cost
June 09, 2006 – Melissa Knopper
Diagnosing Skin Cancer
June 09, 2006 – Susan R. Peck, PhD
Sharing a Lifetime
June 09, 2006
Sunburn Reasons & Remedies
June 09, 2006 – Monica Zangwill, MD
Inherited Syndromes Link Cancers
June 09, 2006 – Elizabeth Whittington
Future Risk for Survivors
June 09, 2006 – Rabiya S. Tuma, PhD
Nature's Spoils
June 09, 2006 – Elizabeth Whittington
The Discovery of Taxol
June 09, 2006 – Frank Stephenson
Melanoma: The Other Skin Cancer
June 09, 2006 – Elizabeth Whittington
Picture Not Perfect
June 09, 2006 – Elizabeth Whittington
Science of Suncreen
June 09, 2006 – Elizabeth Whittington
Planning for Death
June 09, 2006 – Elizabeth Whittington
Does Heaven Exist?
June 09, 2006 – Jo Cavallo
To Be or Not To Be: Is That the Right Question?
June 09, 2006 – Harvey Max Chochinov, MD PhD
Is It Time to Change the Design of Clinical Trials?
June 09, 2006 – Alice McCarthy
Drink Up
June 09, 2006 – Elizabeth Whittington
A Life Well-Lived
June 09, 2006 – Deborah Lang Hampton
Web Exclusive: Caregivers Often Neglect Their Mental Health
June 09, 2006 – The American Cancer Society
Letters from Our Readers
June 09, 2006
Message from the Editor-at-Large
June 09, 2006 – Kathy LaTour
Choosing a Counselor
June 09, 2006 – Elizabeth Whittington
Tips for Preventing Infection
June 09, 2006 – Elizabeth Whittington
Cancer as a Legacy
June 09, 2006 – Kathy LaTour
Fighting Cancer Together
June 09, 2006 – Elizabeth Whittington
Running on Empty
June 09, 2006 – Melissa Knopper
The Blame Game
June 09, 2006 – Kathy LaTour
People & Places
June 09, 2006 – Elizabeth Whittington
A Beautiful Day: The Story of a Son's Loss
June 09, 2006 – Kevin Cropp
Surf & Turf
June 09, 2006 – Jennifer M. Gangloff
Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer: Saving Your Skin
June 09, 2006 – Monica Zangwill, MD
Confronting Death
June 09, 2006 – Jo Cavallo
Glossary
January 16, 2009 – Jennifer M. Gangloff
Breaking News from ASCO
June 09, 2006 – Staff Reports
House Call
June 09, 2006 – Jay Thomas, MD, PhD
Breast Cancer & MDS
January 09, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Bookshelf
June 09, 2006 – Kathy LaTour
Web Exclusive: Follow-Up Care for Skin Cancer
June 09, 2006 – The National Cancer Institute
Weighing Prevention Versus Cost
June 09, 2006 – Melissa Knopper
Diagnosing Skin Cancer
June 09, 2006 – Susan R. Peck, PhD
Sharing a Lifetime
June 09, 2006
Sunburn Reasons & Remedies
June 09, 2006 – Monica Zangwill, MD
Currently Viewing
Inherited Syndromes Link Cancers
June 09, 2006 – Elizabeth Whittington
Nature's Spoils
June 09, 2006 – Elizabeth Whittington
The Discovery of Taxol
June 09, 2006 – Frank Stephenson
Melanoma: The Other Skin Cancer
June 09, 2006 – Elizabeth Whittington
Picture Not Perfect
June 09, 2006 – Elizabeth Whittington
Science of Suncreen
June 09, 2006 – Elizabeth Whittington
Planning for Death
June 09, 2006 – Elizabeth Whittington
Does Heaven Exist?
June 09, 2006 – Jo Cavallo
To Be or Not To Be: Is That the Right Question?
June 09, 2006 – Harvey Max Chochinov, MD PhD
Is It Time to Change the Design of Clinical Trials?
June 09, 2006 – Alice McCarthy
Drink Up
June 09, 2006 – Elizabeth Whittington
A Life Well-Lived
June 09, 2006 – Deborah Lang Hampton
Web Exclusive: Caregivers Often Neglect Their Mental Health
June 09, 2006 – The American Cancer Society
Letters from Our Readers
June 09, 2006
Message from the Editor-at-Large
June 09, 2006 – Kathy LaTour
Choosing a Counselor
June 09, 2006 – Elizabeth Whittington
Tips for Preventing Infection
June 09, 2006 – Elizabeth Whittington
Cancer as a Legacy
June 09, 2006 – Kathy LaTour
Fighting Cancer Together
June 09, 2006 – Elizabeth Whittington
Running on Empty
June 09, 2006 – Melissa Knopper
The Blame Game
June 09, 2006 – Kathy LaTour
People & Places
June 09, 2006 – Elizabeth Whittington
A Beautiful Day: The Story of a Son's Loss
June 09, 2006 – Kevin Cropp
Surf & Turf
June 09, 2006 – Jennifer M. Gangloff
Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer: Saving Your Skin
June 09, 2006 – Monica Zangwill, MD
Confronting Death
June 09, 2006 – Jo Cavallo

Inherited Syndromes Link Cancers

In addition to treatment-related risks, some survivors discover they have a genetic syndrome that may lead to a second cancer.

BY Elizabeth Whittington
PUBLISHED June 09, 2006

In addition to treatment-related risks, some survivors discover they have a genetic syndrome that may lead to a second cancer. Scientists are finding that it may not be where cancer strikes that’s important, but what’s causing it in the first place.

The most well-known genetic mutations, BRCA1 and BRCA2, can signify an increased risk of developing not only breast cancer in men and women, but also ovarian cancer. Coupled with a 55 to 85 percent lifetime risk for breast cancer, individuals with the BRCA1 mutation have a 40 to 60 percent lifetime risk for developing a second breast cancer.

Li-Fraumeni syndrome, a rare genetic disorder often caused by a mutated p53 gene, can increase the risk for breast cancer, sarcoma, leukemia, brain tumors and other cancers. Studies have shown that people with the inherited mutation have at least an 85 percent chance of developing cancer during their lifetime. A study of 200 people with inherited Li-Fraumeni syndrome found that 15 percent developed a second cancer, 4 percent had a third cancer and 2 percent had four cancers. Childhood cancer survivors with the syndrome were found to be at highest risk for second cancers.

The inactivation of a tumor-suppressor gene called von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) may cause up to 85 percent of all kidney cancers. A person is born with two copies of every gene, so both VHL genes must be inactive or mutated before tumors form. Patients with one inherited VHL mutation have a much greater likelihood of developing kidney cancer since it only takes a mutation of the second VHL gene for tumors to occur. In addition to kidney cancer, VHL is associated with tumors of the eye, brain, spine and pancreas.

Genetic syndromes only account for 5 percent of all colorectal cancer cases, but hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), also known as Lynch syndrome, and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) dramatically increase the risk. HNPCC is caused by a defect in DNA repair genes, four of which have been identified. Because these genes oversee DNA cell replication, defects can cause other types of cancers, including uterine and ovarian cancer. FAP results from only one mutated gene, but it can increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer to 90 percent by age 45. Thyroid, small bowel and brain cancers have also been noted with this mutation.

For a complete list of cancer screening recommendations, visit www.cancer.org or www.genetichealth.com. To find a genetic counselor in your area, visit the website of the National Society of Genetic Counselors at www.nsgc.org.  

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