Coming into an inheritance can be a welcomed surprise when you’re inheriting money, jewelry, antiques, or even art, but when you’re talking about the genes that can cause medical issues, the inheritance can be far less desirable. Now, new research finds the genetic mutation causing ovarian cancer may come from your father. Oncologist Dr. Lawrence Piro joins us with more on these findings. And really important for us to pay attention to this. Yeah, ya know, it doesn’t make a lot of sense, right? Men don’t have ovaries, so how is it that you can pass on genetic risk for ovarian cancer, but it turns out that while fewer than 10% of ovarian cancers are genetically related, there are a number of genes that increase the cause of ovarian cancer in women and they can be transmitted by the father, as well as the mother. So, a new study where they looked at grandmother/granddaughter pairs, they found a particular gene called the magic three gene can be transmitted on the X chromosome from the father. So, fathers give, have one X chromosome, if they have the abnormal gene on that chromosome, then 100% of the time, they’re gonna give that to their daughters. The thing about ovarian cancer, we talk so much about breast cancer, and while one in seven or eight women will get breast cancer, ovarian cancer is rarer, only about one to .3% of women get ovarian cancer, but it’s a very deadly cancer because it’s hard to detect early. The overall survival of ovarian cancer is only 45%. When you catch it in stage one, it’s in the 90% percentages, but when it’s in stage four, it’s as low as 17%. So, finding it early is really important. Should women be more aware then, if their paternal grandmother has a history of ovarian cancer, is that something they should have on their radar then? Yes, and I think all women where there are multiple episodes of ovarian cancer or mixtures of breast cancer and ovarian cancer in their family should be thinking about that. And if you also have a relative where you know they have a bracket one or a bracket two gene, the other genes that are associated with breast and ovarian cancer, you should be talking to your doctor about whether you should be screened for that or not. We have you here Dr. Piro, so explain a little bit how the bracket genes work. So, bracket genes are tumor suppressor genes and they produce these proteins that are important in DNA repair and as we’re all sitting around here getting exposed to the environment and things that we eat and drink and all of that, we’re having breaks in our DNA and those need to be repaired. And when you have these genes, you don’t have the repair mechanisms working as well, so your cells can accumulate defects in the DNA. And when you get defects in the DNA, then those cells can become rogue cells and then we have to rely upon our immune system to eliminate the rogue cells before they create tumors. As you age, your immune system begins to deteriorate and it’s not as effective at getting the rogue cells and so, you have multiple things going on in terms of increasing the cancer risk. Lawrence, great segway, let’s talk about ovarian cancer. I mean, that can be a slow, insidious onset for women, difficult to diagnose, there may be a delay in making the diagnosis. The ovaries are very small and they’re in a region of the body where there are not necessarily a lot of other structures around them, so when a tumor grows in the ovary, if it’s not pressing on a nerve to cause pain, if it’s not blocking a blood vessel to create other kinds of symptoms, it can grow and grow and spread throughout the abdomen and the pelvis very insidiously. And then it’s presenting with things like abdominal bloating and an increase in the size of your abdomen and weight gain. Those are all things that can occur for lots of conditions and so the first thing women don’t think of is not, “Do I have ovarian cancer?” They think, “Oh, I’m gaining weight” or “I must be eating a bad diet because I’m bloated,” “I must be gluten sensitive.” There are all kinds of things that they think about first. And I think we should talk about this for a moment. There’s a difference between I’m bloated because there’s something going on, I ate a big meal, I’ve had it for a few days and persistent, unexplained bloating, persistent, unexplained weight gain or weight loss. When it comes to things like cancer that are hidden deep in the pelvis or abdomen, because the symptoms are so general, but the key is they’re unexplained. Maybe you’ve changed nothing else in your life, if you’ve changed nothing else in your life, nothing else, all of a sudden, it’s very unlikely that you know what, this is all just gluten. I mean, it can be, but I think the takeaway here is I always say be the CEO of your own health. If you have persistent, unexplained weight gain or bloating, no other changes, it’s worth talking to your doctor. And one of the other things I would say about cancer, and correct me if I’m wrong here, but these cancers are still very difficult to diagnose, but doing studies like ultrasounds and you can actually find these. All it takes is going and saying, “Doc, this makes no sense.” “This does not make sense to me, “what is going on with my body?” Yeah, they’re not difficult to diagnose once that you have them. It’s difficult to screen for them. Ovarian cancer is a hard thing to have an effective screening system for, but if you’re having abdominal bloating and it’s due to cancer, the doctor will be able to find the cancer, it’s just that four letter word that starts with F is what prevents all of us from getting the healthcare we need, fear.