Simple test reveals your risk of developing killer cancers

CANCER is a disease that occurs when cells divide uncontrollably.

It can affect different parts of the body, with over 375,000 cases diagnosed in the UK every day.

The simple questionnaire is suitable for both men and women and can help determine your risk for certain types of cancer


The simple questionnaire is suitable for both men and women and can help determine your risk for certain types of cancerPhoto credit: Getty

That equates to about 1,000 cases a day, according to Cancer Research UK.

Some inherited genes can increase your risk of cancer, and now a simple test can help reveal your risk of hereditary cancers.

Suitable for both men and women, it assesses your risk of having inherited a gene change, also known as a mutation, variant, or error.

You can take this test by visiting Ovarian Cancer Action.

BRCA mutations

You will be asked if anyone in your family, either maternal or paternal, has tested positive for the BRCA1 mutation.

That’s because women with the faulty BRCA1 gene have a lifetime risk of breast cancer of 65 to 79 percent and a 36 to 53 percent risk of ovarian cancer before age 80, according to the NHS.

You will also be asked about the BRCA2 mutation because a person who inherits these mutations has a higher risk of developing breast, ovarian and prostate cancer.

We all have BRCA genes, and we inherit two copies – one from each of our parents.

They are called tumor suppressors because their job is to repair damaged cells and prevent them from growing and dividing too quickly.

Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes can cause cells to become abnormal and grow out of control.

Here in the UK, only one in 400 or one in 800 people carry a BRCA1/2 gene mutation.

If you are a carrier, male or female, there is a 50 percent chance that you will pass the mutation on to one of your children.

Lynch Syndrome

The test also addresses Lynch syndrome, an inherited nonpolyposis colon cancer.

If you have these mutations, you could be at increased risk of colon cancer before age 50, and you’re also more likely to develop cancer of the womb lining before age 50.

lineage risk

You will be asked about your personal history, including whether you have ever been diagnosed with cancer.

In particular, you will then be asked about family history and whether you have Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.

This is because research shows that if you have Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, you are significantly more likely to have inherited a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene change.

At the end of the quiz you will be told how likely it is that you are at risk of carrying a BRCA1/2 gene disorder or Lynch Syndrome.

The experts state that the tool is only a guide and not a definitive test and should not be relied on for a medical diagnosis.

If you’re concerned about your cancer risk or any of your symptoms, it’s important to talk to your GP.

Cancer Research UK states that there are some key signs of all cancers that we can look out for.

These include:

  1. very heavy night sweats
  2. fatigue
  3. unexplained bleeding or bruising
  4. unexplained weight loss
  5. an unusual lump or swelling anywhere on your body
  6. a new mole or changes to a mole
  7. Skin changes or a wound that won’t heal
  8. raspy voice, hoarseness, or a cough that won’t go away
  9. Mouth or tongue ulcers that last more than three weeks
  10. cough up blood
  11. difficulties swallowing
  12. breathlessness
  13. persistent heartburn or indigestion
  14. unusual changes in the size, shape or feeling of a breast, rib cage, including nipple or skin changes
  15. persistent flatulence
  16. loss of appetite
  17. a change in bowel habits such as constipation, looser bowel movements, or more frequent bowel movements
  18. blood in your stool
  19. unexpected vaginal bleeding, including after sex, between periods, or after menopause
  20. blood in your pee
  21. trouble peeing
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If you notice something that’s not normal for you, you should have it checked out, whether it’s on the list or not, the experts add.

Cancer can affect anyone at any age, so it’s important to always listen to your body, they say. Simple test reveals your risk of developing killer cancers

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