Is cancer Hereditary?

Do you have any family members that have cancer or had cancer? Have you ever heard that if a relative of yours has cancer then you can get it too? Well if you’ve have, it’s wrong. I will say that I have believed this misconception until I read an important article that informed me about this topic. This has frightened so many people. Do you not know how many families think that they might be next? Those families need alleviation, not stress. It has been proven that “Most people diagnosed with cancer don’t have a family history of the disease. Only about 5% to 10% of all cases of cancer are inherited.” According to if you have cancer and someone else in your family has it, that just means that you both share the same behaviors, which raises the risks. says that some cancer is hereditary. Those types are breast cancer and ovarian cancer. So if this myth is not true, then why is this most commonly believed? 

Growing up, I was exposed to the word cancer at a young age. My aunt, whom I never met, passed away from pancreatic cancer. My grandmother passed away when I was six and she had colon cancer.  My aunt, who is currently battling cancer, has colon cancer. She has been battling it for eight years now. And she has had seven surgeries. Lastly, I have an aunt who has had breast cancer for 20 years now. Since cancer is something common in my family, I automatically assumed that I could have it because of that. There were some nights when I would just think to myself in my room like,” I know one day that I will get cancer. I don’t know when, but 3 of my families suffered from it and one is currently battling it. It’s like it runs in the family.”  And I know I am not the only one. Plenty of families may have this thought often. This is why they try to eat healthier, take vitamins, probiotics to help prevent that because they believe they will get it too.

One of the reasons why this is believed is because of what we have heard. Also because the people who you surround yourself with are probably telling you this information. Another reason is because it might just be because you perceived that information. You probably have never heard that all cancer was hereditary; it’s just what you assumed. Not only that but I feel like the families who have gone through the traumatic experience from losing a loved one, or a loved one that is battling it, feel like they are next. Because of this they have plenty of emotions running through their mind like panic, fright, and dejection. They may also feel depressed as well. They have seen what their family member has undergone, and they are concerned if it can affect them. 

In conclusion, most cancers are not hereditary. Don’t let something that happened in your family affect you. You are causing so much pressure on yourself. And rather than believing everything you hear or what you assume that is true, ask someone or look it up. 

Mariama Barry

Morgan Park Academy

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