Over the years I have had several people contact me in regards to their (or their child’s) medical condition and if any other family members may have it. They are trying to find out more about this condition, where it came from, ie hereditary or not hereditary, from their direct Steuer line, from their other direct family line or if anyone in the extended family also has this same condition. This information is NOT made public. I just want to be able to help family members that ask me about specific ailments.
Some family members who are planning to have a family are concerned about the possibility of passing on a genetic trait to their offspring. Currently, Carrier Identification includes genetic tests for Tay-Sachs, cystic fibrosis and sickle-cell. Other family members may wish to be tested if the family shows a history of a specific disease such as breast cancer or Huntington's Disease and if a genetic disorder could be improved by early diagnosis. I will mention cause of death, if it is known and any medical conditions known of those who have already passed.
Now there are more people having genetic testing to find out if they have a genetic condition or disorder that is likely to develop a disease based on his or her genetic makeup. I currently know about the following existing medical conditions in my extended Steuer family:
Retinitis Pigmentosis – both parents must be carriers
Gliomatas Cys (cysteines)
Cancer is a disease of abnormal gene function. An abnormal change in a gene is called a mutation. It’s possible to be born with healthy genes and some of them can become mutated over the course of your lifetime. These mutations are not inherited and known as sporadic or somatic. Sporadic mutations cause most cases of cancer. These mutations usually are caused by things that we are exposed to from our environment, including cigarette smoke, hormones, radiation, and diet. We have a higher risk of cancer as we get older due to a build-up of more gene mutations.
When someone has inherited an abnormal copy of a gene, their cells already start out with one mutation. This makes it all the easier (and quicker) for enough mutations to build up for a cell to become cancer. That is why cancers that are inherited tend to occur earlier in life than cancers of the same type that are not inherited.
Cancer in a close relative, like a parent or sibling, is more cause for concern than cancer in a more distant relative. The chance of passing on cancer to you gets lower with more distant relatives, even if it was from a gene mutation. There is also more concern if you have it on both sides of your family. A woman who has a mother, sister, or even a daughter with breast cancer is about twice as likely to develop breast cancer as a woman without a family history of this cancer. Most cases of breast cancer ‘though are not part of a family cancer syndrome caused by an inherited gene mutation, even those found in close relatives.
“The chance that someone has an inherited form of breast cancer is higher the younger they are when they get the cancer and the more relatives they have with the disease. Inherited breast cancer can be caused by several different genes, but the most common are BRCA1 and BRCA2. Inherited mutations in these genes cause hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome (HBOC). Along with breast and ovarian cancer, this syndrome can also lead to male breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, as well as some others. This syndrome is more common in women of Ashkenazi Jewish descent than it is in the general US population.” [American Cancer Society]
Those of you who want to be proactive in in your health, you may want to read about Dr Johanna Budwig.
If you or someone in your direct line has a medical condition, please let me know. This information could help someone else in our extended family.