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Cancer Genetics

Cancer Prevention and Genetics Continued



my sister is 32 years old she had cevicle cancer just a year and a half ago, she has just been told within the last couple of weeks that it has come back on her kidneys, she has a 5mm mass on one side an a 9mm mass on the other side and that is the side where the extra kidney is.. she is the same our mother was the first time she came down with brain cancer the first time. i am 30 years old. i am not sure how far it goes back in my family, but i worry about myself and my girls. i still not sure what i want to no.. expcept what are the odds my sisters third kidney can work by its self? thank you.


In response to your information about other cancers in your family, first of all, cervical cancer is generally not the result of an inherited cancer susceptibility, but more likely to be the result of exposure to specific strains of a virus called the Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV. Your mother`s brain cancer is somewhat more suspicious, and since you are now approaching the age at which your sister and your mother both developed cancers, I can understand your concern.

This does seem like something you should discuss with a genetic professional. You can locate a cancer genetics professional in your area by going to the website for the National Society of Genetic Counselors (http://www.nsgc.org/) and under area of interest find "cancer."

As far as the chance that your sister has a third kidney that is functioning, I am unable to answer that. It is rather rare to have a third kidney, but not unheard of. I think you would be able to get the answer to your question by talking with either your doctor, your sister`s doctor, or by meeting with a medical geneticist directly.

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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