But What About My Kids: Are CTCLs Hereditary?

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When you hear your doctor say the C word, it feels like the whole world stops or launches into fast forward. I’ve spoken to many people who have had that conversation with their doctors, and almost without fail, they say they don’t remember the rest of the conversation. Some don’t even remember how they got home afterward. Of course, questions of your own mortality spring to mind. But many people will soon start to think about their families.

If I have cancer, will my children get it, too?

The jury is in with regards to certain cancers and their hereditary links. However, with other cancers, we just don’t know. Evidence suggests that breast cancer fits into the former category. It’s not a strong correlation, but it’s significant enough to be noteworthy. Cutaneous T-cell lymphomas (CTCLs) seems to be in the latter group.

Weill Cornell Medicine’s Dr. Jia Ruan explains the ins and outs of CTCLs in a short interview on the lymphoma center’s website. CTCLs are a group of disorders that belong in the non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas category. They result from cancerous T-cells accumulating in a person’s skin cells.

Dr. Ruan also discussed two of the more common types of CTCLs—mycosis fungoides (MF) and Sézary syndrome (SS). For the most part, people with MF can control their symptoms with topical steroids and light therapy. For people with SS, they need more involved treatments.

All that being said, Dr. Ruan points out that there does not seem to be a hereditary link. There is a genetic correlation, but it seems to be a mutation to the gene or acquired in some other way rather than inherited.

Hopefully, this puts your mind at ease, at least a little bit. Read the article from the Weill Cornell website by clicking here.

What other cancers have you worried they might be hereditary? Tell us below.


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