Genetic risk factors are Genetic variants that contribute to the risk of developing common and complex diseases, such as cancer and diabetes. When dealing with complex diseases there are many variants that contribute to disease risk. Each genetic risk factor will contribute in different way, some might have a small effect while others might have a large genetic on your disease risk.
Genetic and Non-Genetic Risk. (n.d.). Retrieved April 07, 2017, from https://cpmc.coriell.org/genetic-education/genetic-and-non-genetic-risk
Our genes pick up mistakes that occur when cells divide. These mistakes are called faults or mutations and happen throughout our lives. They are caused by the natural processes in our cells, and by various other factors. These include
- Tobacco smoke
- Ultraviolet radiation from the sun
- Some substances in food
- Chemicals in our environment
Usually, cells can repair faults in their genes. If the damage is very bad, they may self destruct instead. Or the immune system may recognise them as abnormal and kill them. This helps to protect us from cancer.
But sometimes mutations in important genes mean that a cell no longer understands its instructions, and starts to multiply out of control. It doesn't repair itself properly, and it doesn't die when it should. This can lead to cancer.
What is cancer? (2017, April 07). Retrieved April 11, 2017, from http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/what-is-cancer