Genetic Cancer Risk Unveiled In Twin Study
By: Sadie Gallant
January 19, 2015
January 6, 2016
Are you a twin? If so, you might want to hear about a new discovery. On January 6, 2016, an article was published by JAMA saying that studies have shown that having a twin sibling diagnosed with cancer can increase the other twin’s risk of also getting cancer. This study is currently being held in three different universities, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA, the University of Southern Denmark and the University of Helsinki in Finland. Studies show that if a fraternal twin gets diagnosed with cancer, the other twin is approximately 37% more likely to also get cancer. If both the twins are identical, one twin’s risk rises to about 46% more likely to get cancer. In 3,316 pairs of twins, both were diagnosed with some type of cancer. Since fraternal twins are similar to siblings that are not twins, the increased cancer risk in fraternal twins could possibly predict the cancer risk for families when one sibling gets cancer. Jaakko Kaprio, co-senior author at the University of Helsinki, says, “Findings from this prospective study may be helpful in patient education and cancer risk counseling.”
I chose this article because one, I am a twin. Neither my twin nor I have cancer, but I think it is interesting and a little bit scary to know more about it. What grabbed my attention to read this article was because, of course, I am a twin, and also because it was a very recent discovery and cancer is a big deal since it has a high mortality rate. I learned that lots of people get cancer, but a twin could have an even higher risk of getting it if their other twin is diagnosed with it. For parents, having a twin with cancer is difficult and heartbreaking, but having both twins with cancer is just cruel. I agree with the scientists studying this theory because since you and your twin are related, the disease can be hereditary. Also since the risk is higher in identical twins, it makes sense because you guys look the same and share more genes than regular twins.
The genetic cancer risk for twins relates to our current unit about cells. Any cancer starts when the cells in your body start to grow out of control. Then, cancer cells start to grow and instead of dying, they start to form abnormal cells. Cancer cells can also invade different tissues, unlike normal cells. I think the point of view of the author is to be cautious. There are a lot of twins in our world and even more people suffering from cancer. With risks rising for twins, more people could be diagnosed with any type of cancer. Therefore, the genetic cancer twin risk is an important study to know about.
“Genetic cancer risks unveiled in twin study.” MNT. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Jan. 2016.“What Is Cancer?” American Cancer Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2016. <http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancerbasics/what-is-cancer>.