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When it comes to cancer, we have so much to learn

Lauren Ryan

For many years, we’ve thought of cancer as one general disease. New research is beginning to show that cancer is many different diseases, and there are even many sub-types within each type of cancer (like breast cancer). This is causing a major shift in perspective across the entire field. Providers and researchers are moving away from a one-size-fits-all model to a more personalized approach to screening for and treating cancer.

For example, many people are surprised to learn that only 10–15% of most cancers are hereditary.

Inherited mutations explain some cases of cancer, but most are not inherited and can not be explained by a single cause. Knowing whether or not a cancer was caused by an inherited mutation may impact screening and treatment recommendations, and may have implications for family members. Some non-genetic factors that can influence cancer risk include environment and lifestyle, as well as family history without a known genetic link. Your healthcare provider can help determine how your screening plan might be influenced by your health history and other factors.

The Color Test focuses on inherited mutations linked to the 8 most common types of hereditary cancers.

To learn more about these 8 cancers, check out our new cancer education pages. You’ll find information to help you better understand each cancer, its risk factors (including the environmental and the hereditary kinds), and additional resources to help you find more information and support.


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