Ask the doctor: Is your cancer risk genetic?

Q. My father had lymphoma and my mother had colon cancer. Does that mean I'll get cancer, too?

A. Both lymphoma—cancer of the white blood cells—and colon cancer run in families. That means that if a first-degree relative—your parent, sibling, or child—has developed the cancer, your risk of getting the cancer is greater than the average person's. However, it does not mean that you will definitely get the cancer. Indeed, the odds are you won't. But your risk is increased.

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