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The Genetics program in THRIVE aims to educate individuals about the limited role of inherited factors in cancer, emphasizing the importance of informed decisions regarding screenings and treatment based on a deeper understanding of genetics and its impact on cancer risk.


It’s widely thought that people get cancer because it runs in their families. Yet, according to the American Cancer Society, only 5% to 10% of cancer diagnoses can be tied to an inherited risk factor. In our Genetics program in THRIVE, you’ll learn about the links between genetics and cancer and how they should impact your decisions about screenings and treatment.

Genetics Terms, Explained

Knowing these common terms can be a helpful starting point when learning about cancer and genetics:

Genes: Your genes tell your cells what to do. You have two copies of each gene, one inherited from your mother and one from your father.

Genetic mutations: These are errors or “typos” that can keep a gene from working properly.

Family history: A family history means a certain disease or condition is common among your parents, grandparents, siblings, children, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews. Family history can be linked to genetic mutations your family shares, but it is also linked to similar lifestyle habits and environments.

Hereditary: This means something is passed from a parent to a child. Hereditary cancers are caused by genetic mutations you inherited from a parent.

What Is Genetic Testing?

Genetic testing is performed by taking blood samples, saliva, or a cheek swab and sending them to a lab for analysis. The lab looks at up to 90 genes to determine whether mutations exist that could put you at risk for cancer.

These tests can also tell you if your genetics might need to guide treatment decisions, and whether you will need extra cancer screenings as you get older. It can also be helpful to family members, who can use your results to determine whether they should be screened more frequently or at younger ages.

Genetic counselors will walk you through the entire process and help you interpret your results.

Common Hereditary Cancers

Genes can play a role in many conditions, but the ones frequently linked to genetic mutations include the BReast CAncer 1 (BRCA1) and BReast CAncer 2 (BRCA2) genes, as well as those designated as DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes.

BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are linked to:

  • Breast cancer in women and men
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Fallopian tube cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Prostate cancer

Cancers linked to MMR genes include:

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Fallopian tube cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Gastric cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer

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Call 901-752-6131 to learn more.

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Cancer survivor group members attend a financial seminars.

Genetics and Your Cancer Journey

THRIVE Genetics Seminar

This seminar, led by a licensed genetic counselor, offers insight into what a genetic counselor is and helps you better understand the role genes and DNA play in cancer risk. We also address hereditary and familial cancer and how those impact screening recommendations, what information you will get from genetic testing, privacy laws and genetics, and common myths and misconceptions about genetics. All sessions are held online via Microsoft Teams.

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If you would like more information or have questions about our THRIVE Survivorship Programs please reach out to us today at our Contact Us page.