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Cancer Genetics

Cancer Risks for Myasthenia Gravis and A Family History

08/26/2003

Question:

My father has Myasthenia Gravis and has recently begun taking Imuran,Prednisone and Mestinon. My question is his brother had prostate cancer, his father died at age 53 of multiple myeloma, as well as two paternal aunts died in their 20`s and 50`s with some type of cancer and a paternal uncle died of "bone cancer"first diagnosed at approximately age 65. What are the risks involved in taking Imuran with such a bad family history.

Answer:

Your family history is certainly interesting with the number of family members who have been diagnosed with cancers of various types, and I would encourage you to think about contacting a genetics center for evaluation of potential inherited cancer susceptibility syndromes. However, I think this discussion would be best addressed with your father`s doctor. Is your father`s doctor aware of the number of cancers in the family? And why do you think taking Imuran will have an impact on your father`s chance of developing cancer? Please talk with his doctor about your concerns. 

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Response by:

Duane D Culler, PhD, MS Duane D Culler, PhD, MS
Clinical Instructor of Genetics
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University