Cancer is, unfortunately, a common disease. In fact, 1 in 3 people are diagnosed with cancer in their life time. Cancer is caused by DNA damage (i.e., mutations) in genes that regulate cell growth and division. The majority of gene mutations that cause cancer are due to diet, lifestyle and exposures (radiation, cigarette smoke, etc), while a small portion of gene mutations are inherited. Regardless, all cancers are due to mutations (changes) in a person's genes that make their genes not properly function.
5-10% of all cancers are thought to be due to inherited gene mutations and are called hereditary cancer. Individuals who have a hereditary cancer predisposition are born with a gene mutation that either their mother or father passed on to them. They are at an increased risk to develop certain types of cancer (depending on which gene has the mutation) over their life time. Below is a list of genes that are known to increase a person's risk for cancer over their life time.