Genetic Disposition to Cancer?

by | May 26, 2019 | Cancer science, Health

There is a lot of confusion around the subject of a person’s genetic disposition to cancer – if your parents and grandparents had cancer, you are very likely to be in the firing line… right? This certainly seems to be the common understanding, and may have a significant effect on how people live their lives.

Well, wrong actually. Research shows that only 5-10% of cancers have a genetic component (Cancer Research UK), that we do indeed have control over whether or not our disposition to cancer shows itself.

The study of this phenomenon is called Epigenetics. In simple terms, as organisms develop, “carefully orchestrated chemical reactions activate and deactivate parts of the genome at strategic times and in specific locations. Epigenetics is the study of these chemical reactions and the factors that influence them.” Learn.Genetics. Changes in the ‘gene expression’ can have causes other than inheritable causes. ‘Gene expression’ is the process by which information from a gene is used in the synthesis of life.

This changes everything! It puts us in control. Our lifestyle choices and our attitudes to life can make all the difference! “When many cases of cancer occur in a family, most of the time it’s due to chance or because family members have been exposed to the same toxin, such cigarette smoke. Less often, these cancers may be caused by inheriting an abnormal gene.” American Cancer Society