what are the odds of me getting cancer if both of my birth parents had it?

on june 3rd of 2009 my mom was diagnosed with lymphoma, she had a 4x4 tumor in her upper sternum, she went through kimo n radiation for about a year and won the battle against the cancer just a few months ago. on dec 1 2010 my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer, my mom and dad only have me and my older brother together. i am 20 and my brother is 22, what are the odds of me and/or my brother getting diagnosed with cancer since both our birth mother & father were diagnosed in their early 40's?

Report post

10 replies. Join the discussion

Wow......... what a set of circumstances you are all going through. I am happy to hear that your Mom has been able to beat this disease back. I hope she is at the point that is called NED (no Evidence of Disease). It is hard to answer your question and I know you may be scared and want to know what to expect. The truth is that you will read many things about who is more loikely to get cancer and you will also receive a number of opinions. People get cancer and they have no one in theri family who has had it before. Then there are others who have a family history and it does seem as though it is heriditary or the tendencey is there. And......all cancer is not alike in terms of where it originates and where it actually shows up. Some screenings are able to detect things early, others are more silent until it is found in late stages and others are found as a result of another diagnosis or scan and cancer has been found unexpectedly. In some specific factors, you can be tested for a gene that indicates you may be predisposed. I guess what I am trying to tell you is to live healthy and happy and any periodic check ups that are necessary and listen to your body.

I hope the journey you father needs to take will have the same outcome as your Mom. My prayers are with you and your family. Visit the site often........... you will find a wealth of infomation and support.

Report post

thank you so much for the insight....really....for some reason my nerves are shot. my mind doesnt wanna believe i even talked to my dad at all the other day when he found out/told me. that helps a lil. but i am more courious about me and worried/scared for my dad. i may live 50+ miles away from him now n its only been three months since i moved so far. but i am a daddy's grl. i am not the closest to my mom but i completly lost myself. i thought i was gonna loose her, couldn't figure out why i even hated her so much in the first place. i still dont kno why honestly..... but i am very close to her as well, n my daddy i dont kno if i am gonna be able to handle it at all, and i deep down have no faith in my self.....ill manage some how yea i mean i wont hurt my self, but seems how i went out there and threw all i had down the drain, when i say all i had i mean everything from physically to mentaly to emotionaly. college, my car, self respect, prid, self control, ect.. the whole bangin coputle. and i am scared of throwing it all away again im just starting to get back on track, just enrolled back into college got my own place. its the loss of self control that gets the best of me, n that is unusual!! but im gonna stop ramblin in ur ear. i apologize. it just helps keep me from cryin right now. i will cry, when i have a lil more sense of self control, if i cry now there is no tellin what ill do so im just tryin to avoid all that n just not cry til i feel more self control in myself. but again thank you and i'm sorry

Report post

I would not say as elevated as you think. Heart disease and cancer are significant causes of death. If you had two parents with heart disease who passed away from it at 77, you might have a mildly elevated risk.

Here you have two different types of cancers, each with likely different genetic characteristics. So while you might have a mild risk, other than telling you not to smoke, i probably would not worry a lot about it.

Report post


My Dad had lung cancer and passed away 5 years ago. Now my Mom has lung cancer. I worry too! To ease my anxiety I am trying to live a very healthful lifestyle. I don't smoke and I take supplements like vitamen D-3, resveratrol, lycopene.... the list is endless. I drink green tea and consume no alcohol. I also eliminated sugar from my diet and eat organic when possible. I have no idea if anything I do will help to prevent getting cancer but I feel better trying to do something.

Report post

Do not waste your energy on worrying "will I get cancer too".
Live healthy, exercise and above all DO NOT SMOKE.

Right now concentrate on helping your dad. What type cancer does he have, what stage is he, what is the treatment plan?
We can help you better if we know these things.

Report post

My father was DX 2 months before I was.
He was 76 with heart issues.He had nsclc and I have sclc ext.
Dont play the odds ... Get checked out !

Report post

Did some quick research and found the following at (http://www.lungcanceralliance.org/facing/risks.html):

Scientists have not yet identified a gene or genes linked directly to lung cancer. Researchers have found that among the families in their studies they suspected had familial lung cancer, “any amount of cigarette smoking strongly increased risk.”3 It is unlikely that such a form of familial lung cancer would account for more than 1-2% of lung cancers. Out of 172,570 projected cases in 2005, 1% = 1,726 people.

Research in the United States has produced results which suggest that adults who have or had a fully biologically related parent or sibling with lung cancer, especially one who was diagnosed before age 50, is at increased risk for lung cancer. Much more research needs to be done, but family history of lung cancer in a parent or sibling is important for people and their physicians to keep in mind.



Report post

thank you all for the insight, we do not kno any more than what i posted, ill post more as we find out. but not much matters, my dad refuses to do kimo and/or radiation.

Report post

I believe that genetics plays a role in cancer. I have lung cancer as did my father.

Report post

@ chum - good info, thanks! Let's also keep in mind that RADON also creates an elevated risk of getting the disease. Consider a scenario whereby persons in the same family are coming down with lung cancer - years apart even. It may well be that the family's house was never tested for radon, and they lived for decades in the structure. My wife is not a smoker, and never was. She was recently diagnosed at age 43 with NSCLC. One of my concerns was for my kids - is our house contaminated with radon? So far, the tests have shown a very low level of radon in my home, but I bet that most folks don't test then re-test every few years. In my wife's case, her parents smoked and she grew up in a major East European city when air quality was not controlled at all, and both of her parents smoked in the house. THAT is probably the "family" link here. Our pulmonary physician described the lungs as "the body's dumping ground" - so my take on it is that lung cancer is most likely caused by environmental factors and it takes YEARS for it to develop. These folks dealing with mesothelioma (caused by asbestos dust) were exposed decades ago! If you are interested in testing for radon at home, an accurate home test kit can be had for about $35 from "Radon Testing Corp" (www.rtca.com) Let's keep the faith and focus on winning this fight my friends!

Report post

This discussion is closed to replies. We close all discussions after 90 days.

If there's something you'd like to discuss, click below to start a new discussion.

Photo of Dave Grant

The Lung Cancer Survivors Support Community has provided support for patients, caregivers, families and friends since 2006. We welcome over 600 new members every month in the fight against lung cancer.

ALK mutations and lung cancer

Join the discussion about ALK mutations and lung cancer

Things you can do

Discussion topics

Community leaders