We love our children, and being a parent means that the close genetic or familial loving bond is never ending. We feel the frustration of their falls when they’re learning to walk, we cringe when they have their first big stack off their bike, and we cry with them and for them through school troubles, break-ups and life’s disappointments. Perhaps the worst feeling as a parent is knowing that your child is sick with an illness that cannot be prevented, and seeing them struggle through pain, treatment and recovery. Children can contract so many illnesses, but perhaps the most devastating diagnosis a parent could receive it that their child has a form of cancer.
September is International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, aimed at highlighting the fact that cancer doesn’t discriminate, and affects children of all ages. In Australia, there are a number of organisations that are dedicated to raising awareness of certain types of children’s cancers, funding for the care of children and their families living with cancer, and raising money to go towards scientific research. You can find out what these organisations do by visiting their websites:
The Kids Cancer Project: https://www.thekidscancerproject.org.au/about-us/who-are-we
The Childhood Cancer Association: https://childhoodcancer.asn.au/
Sometimes, a parent or parents will have a family history of one or more cancers, and worry that they may have the cancer genes, and pass these on to their children. At EasyDNA Australia, we understand that you want to be the best parent to your children, all while being safe in the knowledge that you have done everything to keep them safe from harm. The Inherited Cancer Panel has been designed based on scientific up-to-date literature, disease research databases and consultation with key opinion leaders. It screens for the most common cancer-causing mutations in over 130 different genes associated with a wide range of hereditary cancers. This test serves as a powerful tool for parents, providing you with the information needed to help them prepare for the future and potentially help to make any necessary changes to reduce the risks of developing certain cancers.
Some traits and diseases can be caused by changes in one single gene. In these cases, the genetic diseases can be inherited in two different ways which are referred to as either dominant inheritance, or recessive inheritance.
When a disease is inherited in a dominant manner, it is enough with only one defective gene (inherited from one of the parents) for the affected individual to get the disease symptoms. Individuals with a dominantly inherited defective gene have a 50% chance of passing on this gene to their children. The child would have 1 normal copy of the gene and another defective copy.
A recessive gene will only manifest itself in the child if he or she inherited 2 copies of the defective gene – one from the mother and one from the father. The child has a 25% chance of inheriting both copies of the defective gene (one copy from each parent) and a 50% chance of inheriting just one copy of the defective gene from either their mother or their father. In these cases, the parents may be unaffected themselves, but are carriers of the defective gene, and in the same manner if the child inherits just one single copy from one of their parents, they too will be carriers.
Parents who take the simple blood draw required for the Inherited Cancer Panel are giving themselves and their children peace of mind in regards to potential future cancer diagnosis. Let’s all do our best for our most precious asset, and remember our kids during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!