- Japanese men born in the US have twice as much colon cancer as Japanese men born in Japan.
- Japanese women born in the US have colon cancer rates 40 % higher than Japanese women born in Japan.
These statistics are probably the result of diet, lifestyle, lack of exercise, and pollution underscoring the large role environmental factors
play in cancer risk. It is reassuring to know that according to the National Cancer Institute, gene mutations that make you more susceptible to cancer are responsible for only 5% of cancers.
Genetic Testing & Your Rights
If you decide to have a genetic test, there are some helpful laws to know about. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act
(GINA) of 2008 is designed to prohibit the improper use of genetic information in health insurance and employment. For example, health insurers are prohibited from denying coverage to a healthy individual or charging that person higher premiums because a genetic test indicated a predisposition to developing a disease in the future.
2-5% of certain specific cancers “run in families” and may occur more often in some families than in the rest of the population. For example, melanoma and cancers of the breast, ovary, prostate, and colon sometimes run in families. However, lifestyle and environmental factors combine with genetic traits to affect the overall risk.