NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 8,463 terms related to cancer and medicine.

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heritable
(HAYR-ih-tuh-bul)
In medicine, describes a characteristic or trait that can be passed from a parent to a child through the genes. Several types of cancer have heritable forms, in which the risk of developing a particular type of cancer is inherited from a parent. Some signs of heritable cancer are a family history of the cancer, mutations (changes) in certain genes passed from a parent to a child, or a mutation that occurs at the time of conception (fertilization of an egg by a sperm). Heritable forms of cancer often develop at an early age.