Hereditary Cancer: Which cancers can have a genetic origin?

Some people have an increased risk of developing cancer due to genes passed down from their parents. Discover the different cancers that may be affected by genetic predispositions.


The causes of cancers

Cancers are multifactorial diseases. This means they are not caused by a single well-determined cause but by many factors. As the National Cancer Institute (INCa) regularly points out, 40% of cancers are linked to external factors and would thus be “preventable”. Prevention can, therefore, significantly reduce the risk of developing cancer by playing on these four factors: tobacco, alcohol, diet, and sedentary lifestyle.


But these diseases can also have a hereditary character. It is estimated that about 5% of cancers can be “transmitted” via genetic mutations affecting the parents, who then end up in their offspring. About 80 genes are now identified as being able to increase the risks of cancer. However, it is essential to clarify that people with these genetic predispositions will not necessarily get sick. They simply present a higher risk than the general population.


In addition, the same genetic mutation can increase the risk of developing more than one type of cancer. For example, a genetic mutation that increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer may also increase her risk of ovarian cancer.


What are hereditary cancers?

According to the various scientific studies carried out on the subject, several types of cancers can be linked to a genetic predisposition. Here is a recognized list :


Adrenal gland cancer ;

Bone cancer ;

Brain and spinal cord cancers ;

Eye cancer (ocular melanoma in adults and retinoblastoma in children) ;

Cancer of the fallopian tube ;

Kidney cancer, including Wilms’ tumor in children ;

Certain types of leukemia and lymphoma ;

Hepatoblastoma (a rare type of liver cancer affecting children) ;

Neuroblastoma ;

Neuroendocrine tumors ;

Oropharyngeal cancer ;

Parathyroid cancer ;

Tumor of the pituitary gland ;

Cancer of the small intestine ;

Soft tissue sarcoma ;