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A Family Affair
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Both sides of the family tree are important in determining genetic risk of breast and prostate cancers, reports a study completed at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

“The genes that cause these diseases are genes you inherit from both parents,” says Dr. Sharon Plon, an associate professor of molecular and human genetics and pediatrics. “For a woman, if Mom’s family has no history of breast cancer, but Dad has three sisters who were diagnosed with the disease, that’s just as worrisome.” The same holds true for prostate and other forms of cancer influenced by genetics.

Even if there is a history of cancer in your family, that does not necessarily mean you will develop the disease, adds Plon. “But it’s important to determine if you are at an increased risk and may need early screening."

Baylor College of Medicine

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Reprinted with permission from Vibrant Life, March/April 2005. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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