Genetics and Adrenal Cancer

Up to 10-15 percent of adrenal cancers arise in patients with a hereditary predisposition to develop cancer. The University of Michigan Endocrine Oncology team has been on the forefront of identifying these inherited conditions. It is standard in the Multidisciplinary Endocrine Oncology Clinic to offer genetic counseling and a complete genetic evaluation to adrenal cancer patients. Being diagnosed with a condition that causes cancer in the patient or in the patient’s family can influence how doctors treat patients with adrenal cancer. More importantly, genetic evaluation can identify other types of cancer the patient is at risk for, and physicians will be able to recommend other screening methods for early detection of these cancers. The diagnosis of a familial cancer syndrome also allows for the identification of other family members who might be at risk for developing the same types of cancer. Family members at risk then have the chance to discuss preventive measurements and screening protocols which are geared towards finding tumors at an early stage where they can be treated with greater success.

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