Christine Wilson, cancer survivor, shares her experiences from the Abramson Cancer Center’s Focus On Pancreatic Cancer Conference. In this blog, she recaps the conference. You can view the conference in its entirety, including presentations here.
Approximately five to 10 percent of pancreatic cancer is considered to be familial, or hereditary. For those who have a family history of pancreatic cancer or one of several genetically linked syndromes that predispose them to pancreatic cancer, it is very important to identify that risk and get appropriate screening and intervention.
Anyone who has had at least one parent or sibling (first-degree relative) with pancreatic cancer should meet with a certified genetic counselor to develop a comprehensive family history, and discuss their own risk for developing pancreatic cancer. A genetic counselor can also help identify conditions such as hereditary pancreatitis that can significantly increase the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, as well as specific genetic mutations that increase the risk of developing other cancers.
The gene mutation BRCA1, for example, is associated with a high incidence of breast cancer, and has also been linked to increases in pancreatic cancer.
It is important to realize not all risks are equal. By learning family history, every person can understand their own personal risk level. That information can be used to make decisions about screenings and tests as well as medical interventions that may reduce the chance of someone developing pancreatic cancer.
The Abramson Cancer Center’s Gastrointestinal Cancer Risk Evaluation Program offers complete genetic testing and can provide clinical, genetic and research services for people with concerns about their risk for developing pancreatic as well as other GI cancers.
View the Focus on Pancreatic Cancer Conference to learn more about your risk for pancreatic cancer.