A new study has revealed that almost half of the risk of developing testicular cancer is passed down genetically.
The research, conducted by The Institute of Cancer Research, says that the passing down in DNA of increased risk of testicular cancer is much more significant than other types of cancer, where genetic inheritance typically makes up 20% of the danger.
The scientist's involved studied statistical patterns of ancestral testicular cancer within families across 15.7 million people from the Swedish Population Registry cancer family database – of which 9,324 individuals had suffered from testicular cancer. The second part was to look at the genetic code of 6,000 UK-based men – with 986 having been diagnosed with testicular cancer.
The study of the two national databases revealed that 49% of all factors contributing to testicular cancer are hereditary, according to the report published in Scientific Reports. Additionally, it found that the genetic risk is the result of many minor variations in the genetic code, rather than one faulty gene.
Dr Clare Turnbull, senior researcher in Genetics and Epidemiology at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said: "Our study has shown that testicular cancer is a strongly heritable disease. Around half of a man's risk of developing testicular cancer comes from the genes he inherits from his parents -- with environmental and behavioural factors contributing to the other half.
"Our findings have important implications in that they show that if we can discover these genetic causes, screening of men with a family history of testicular cancer could help to diagnose those at greatest risk, and help them to manage that risk.
"But our study also shows that much work remains to be done. There are a lot of genetic factors that cause testicular cancer which we are yet to find -- so the first step must be to identify the genetic drivers of testicular cancer so we can develop new ways to prevent it."