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Germline (Hereditary) Risk

Mary L. Schmitt
CJON 2021, 25(6), 21-22 DOI: 10.1188/21.CJON.S2.21-22

Cancer may affect any individual, but some people are at higher risk than others. The majority of cancer cases are sporadic, caused by DNA damage that may occur in one cell (not an egg or sperm) and accumulate over a lifetime. Hereditary predisposition to cancer is caused by pathogenic variants in certain genes passed from parent to offspring through the egg or sperm and referred to as germline. In hereditary cancer syndromes, higher incidence, earlier age at onset, and patterns of cancer may be seen within families.

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