While parents who have been diagnosed with cancer early are known to increase their children's chances of inheriting the same affliction, a recent study by the German Cancer Research Centre and Lund University in Sweden, which was reported on ScienceDaily.com, shows that even patients who have been diagnosed with cancer at a later age run the risk of passing on their disease to their offspring.

Working with data from the Swedish Family-Cancer Database, a record of approximately eight million children and their biological parents, researchers monitored the health conditions of cancer patients’ offspring from ages 0 to 76 years old. The study ended in 2008, or upon the first diagnosis of the same cancer the parents have developed, or death, whichever came first.

The results showed familial cancers or those that can be passed on to offspring often happen to patients after they turn 69 years old. Although hereditary cancer risk is higher in children whose parents contracted the disease early in life, those whose parents were diagnosed as older adults still run the risk of having the same cancer.

According to the study, the hereditary risk for the Big C has increased most with prostate cancer (30.1 percent), followed by breast cancer (8.8 pecent).

This study gives many people whose parents have been diagnosed with cancer the chance to avoid having the same predicament by knowing which kind of lifestyle to steer clear of. Eating well, exercising often, and properly managing stress may help those with histories fight the disease by maintaining a clean and healthy body.

(Photo by Phil and Pam Gradwell (to be) via Flickr Creative Commons)

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