Hereditary Cancer: Signs and Symptoms

What are the signs and symptoms of hereditary cancer?

Your doctor or genetic counselor can help you determine if your family history suggests that your child may have a hereditary risk for cancer. In general, the following situations increase the chances that an inherited form of cancer may exist in your family:

  • Multiple family members diagnosed with cancer, particularly at a young age (before 40-50 years)
  • Cancer in multiple generations
  • More than one cancer diagnosed in an individual
  • Cancer in an individual who also has two or more congenital (present at birth) anomalies such as:
    • Birth defects
    • Abnormal growth and/or development
    • Other major medical issues unrelated to the cancer
  • Rare or certain types of cancer, such as:
    • Adrenocortical carcinoma
    • Atypical teratoid and malignant rhabdoid tumors
    • Choroid plexus carcinoma
    • Endolymphatic sac tumors 
    • Hemangioblastomas
    • Hepatoblastoma
    • Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia
    • Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors
    • Optic pathway tumors
    • Paragangliomas
    • Pheochromocytoma
    • Renal cell carcinoma
    • Retinoblastoma
    • Thyroid cancer, especially medullary
    • Vestibular schwannomas