Some types of cancer run in certain families, but most cancers are not clearly linked to the genes we inherit from our parents. Most cancers develop because of a combination of chance and our environmentCancer is not usually inherited, but some types mainly breast, ovarian and prostate cancer can be strongly influenced by genes and can run in families. There are two basic types of genetic mutations: acquired and germline. Acquired mutations are the most common cause of cancer. These mutations occur from damage to genes during a persons life, and they are not passed from parent to child. Tobacco use, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation (such as sunlight or from tanning beds), viruses, and age can damage genes and cause these mutations. Cancer that occurs because of acquired mutations is called sporadic cancer.Many cancers cannot be linked to a specific gene. It is likely that multiple, different genes are involved in the development of cancer. There is also some evidence that genes interact with their environment, further complicating the role of genes in cancer.
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Last date updated on July, 2014