Ask the expert: Is there a genetic link?

Both my husband and his father have had a blood cancer diagnosis so I am concerned whether there is a genetic link. 

Is there a genetic link with lymphoma

Question: Both my husband and his father have had a blood cancer diagnosis; one with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and the other with myeloma. With two young children I am concerned whether there is a genetic link. Is there any screening for lymphoma or blood cancers?

Answer: It is understandable that family members are concerned about a potential link. For close relatives (father, brother, sister) the risk of developing lymphoma is slightly higher. Lymphomas are not common though, so the overall chances are still low. Unlike some cancers, there are no specific faulty genes for lymphoma that are inherited, ie passed on from parent to child. Doctors would not routinely test for lymphoma based on family history, but it is worth having a heightened awareness of the symptoms.

Learn more about the symptoms of lymphoma

With thanks to Dr Cathy Burton, Consultant Haematologist at Leeds Teaching Hospital for answering this question in Lymphoma Matters issue 108.

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