Cancer running in the family

Not sure where the appropriate place to discuss something like this is. My immediate family seem to be very unlucky when it comes to cancer. My brother died of pancreatic cancer 5 years ago. A few months before my diagnosis my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer and her husband with bowel cancer at the same time. They both came through their treatment well and have since lived a totally normal life. It looks as though my sister’s cancer may be back as they have found some growths during a scan. As well as starting off the whole family dealing with cancer thing again, it’s made me more aware that it’s only a matter of time before my cancer comes back and things start all over again. Having had a significant portion of my remission taken up with lockdown has only made things worse and made me feel more frustrated for all of these wasted months. Statistically I could be back in treatment next year so feel a bit cheated. I know my sister is also feeling a but frazzled too as she’s been through a lot. Anyone else feel the same or had to deal with multiple family crises?

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I am not able to personally help, but have asked if any of the Ambassadors can help. Best wishes to you all, and especially your sister

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@Franko This is something an ambassador asked me to pass on.
Not sure if my situation is relevant, but my sister and myself were being treated at the same time, both of us for blood cancer, & both of us in Cardiff, UHW, Haematology, she had AML, & myself Hodgkins, twice relapsed, sadly my sister didn’t make it, also a couple of years earlier another sister had breast cancer, she’s in full remission, so three members of my family have had cancer, not sure if thats just bad luck, or if there’s another reason, the doctors at the time said it’s probably just bad luck, !

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Hi there
Firstly I’m really sorry to hear of cancer running in your family - I can appreciate that isn’t easy.
I don’t understand first hand as such but my husband has a rare form of NHL, his dad died from AML and his mum had breast cancer 8yrs ago. Out of his immediate family of two parents and two children, only his brother hasn’t had cancer. That’s a huge worry for his brother and his family and I know it preys on their mind. I think they all choose to ensure to be as mindful of their bodies and how they’re feeling as they can be and not to ignore anything that doesn’t feel quite right. I think if we thought about it too much we’d worry all the more about the hereditary links with blood cancer down the male side and what that means for our son. So we don’t - for now. I just wanted to reach out to say I saw your message and that I send every good wish to you and yours. Take care

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Another ambassador shared this
Hi Louise, my Dad died if Lung cancer aged 59, he said 6 siblings and 5 of them have died of cancer as did his mother and Uncles. I had AML in 2007 my only sibling, my brother died of bowel cancer in 2014. My mother had breast cancer but survived. My fathers side of the family had a lot of cancer in it as I have pointed out. I have had genetic testing because of all the familial cancers. Totally unrelated to me my husbands nephew had a brain tumour and one of my son in laws had testicular cancer. We have been getting our moneys worth out of the NHS. Helen x

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I think statistically, sadly, 1 in 2 people will experience cancer. I’m not sure if that’s directly, or indirectly, but it’s a scarily high number. Like any statistic, it’s never spread evenly and I guess some families, or groups of friends even, get hit harder. Both my parents had blood cancer and have both now died (my mum from Myeloma and my dad with CLL as a secondary cause. I’ve also lost 2 uncles. My youngest son had leukaemia and is now in remission.

I’m so sorry for what your family are going through and how scared you all must be. I can relate to feeling a little cheated over lockdown. It felt like we were just getting back on our feet again after my son’s cancer treatment and now we’re stuck indoors again. Hopefully we will all feel more comfortable with going out again soon, I think a change of scenery and being able to properly be with loved ones will make a world of difference. Take care, Lisa

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Thanks all for your kind words.It looks like we’ve all been through the wringer, not just with our own cancer. I suspect in most cases, including my own, it’s just bad luck as the cancers in question are not linked. I think there’s some history of both breast and bowel cancer on the Italian side of my family but no blood cancers until me which looking on the bright side makes me unique :wink:

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Glad that we have been able to help, and that you know that you are not alone in this, although you are unique!!! Have a good weekend

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@Franko it’s so understandable you have questions around this. I’m not sure if this whether or not it’d be useful for you to read but Cancer Research UK has some information around inherited cancer genes - https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/inherited-cancer-genes-and-increased-cancer-risk. There’s a section on the page called ‘Family History of Cancer’ on there.

I’m really sorry to hear your sister’s cancer may be back. It sounds like you’ve both been through an awful lot. We’re only a phone call away if you want to chat anything through @Franko.

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Thanks Alice, much appreciated. I don’t think my blood cancer is inherited as no one else in the family has ever had it but I know cousins, aunts and uncles have had breast and bowel cancer. All on the Italian side of the family through my late mom. The Ukrainian side through my dad doesn’t appear to have had any cancer that I know of.

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My immediate family had considered ourselves “healthy”. My father had been successfully treated for prostate cancer in his 60s but that was all. Then within months my brother and I were diagnosed with 2 cancers each. My brother had prostate surgery on the same day I had a stem cell transplant for myeloma last year, then he’s had treatment for basal cell carcinoma and I have for a small thyroid tumour. Both he & I face further treatment as his cancer has returned & mine will do so.
We’ve also had both parents die in the past year, & I wonder what is in store health-wise for our children.

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I am sorry to hear of the challenges you and your brother are facing with cancer. Having gone through a SCT myself I know how difficult the recovery can be, without encountering another tumour. Also grieving for the death of not one, but both parents, and concerns for your brother must be very difficult. Are you and your family being supported by a CNS and your treatment team? The support line is available if you need someone to talk to. Be kind to yourself, and make time to switch off and relax. Take care

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Gosh @Maple your family medical conditions really have been intertwined, not easy for yourselves or your families and I wonder how you have all coped emotionally and practically. Now you also have us to support you and perhaps this is a safe place for you to be able to share how it has really been for you. Don’t forget you can contact the wonderful Blood Cancer UK Support Services Team on 0808 2080 888 10am-7pm Monday-Friday and 10am to 1pm Saturday and Sunday or via email at support@bloodcancer.org.uk if you would like to talk. Take care all of you.

All my family have passed away with cancer. Three uncles went with lung cancer and never smoked in their lip. My grandmother brain tumour and my grandfather liver cancer. I lost my mum to lung and bladder cancer and my brother passed last year lung cancer and I have CLL. Also feel lost anxious and cheated with isolation and time lost with lock down. Also count my blessings as there are people far worse off than me🤗

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I suddenly feel very selfish for even mentioning my situation. How awful for you all. I second what Erica’s said that this is a good place to come for some support and offload. It’s our secret world away from the horror.

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Welcome to the forum @Sandra. Please feel free to share your feelings on the forum. I think so many of us feel cheated of time not spent with friends and family, time to explore, and you are entitled as much as everyone else to feel that way.

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No need to feel guilty Franko. It was something on your mind, and we hope it has still helped, and has also helped others to know they are not alone

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Hi @Franko, I think it was really a much needed topic and you have given us the opportunity to talk about family histories and losses, especially at this time of loss and isolation and you are right this is our very special secret world where we can share thoughts and feelings and know we will be supported and understood.

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@Sandra, a very warm welcome to our forum and you certainly have had some family losses, I cannot imagine what it has been and is like for you. Yes, I also know that feeling of being cheated and lost time, I have even worked it out as fractions of my life.
I have also found in isolation that it is just me and my head and my mind goes off in all directions and my emotions are all over the place. This is a place that you can share what it is really like for you with people who really understand.
We are here to support you and you can always contact the wonderful Blood Cancer UK Support Services Team on 0808 2080 888 10am-7pm Monday-Friday and 10am to 1pm Saturday and Sunday or via email at support@bloodcancer.org.uk if you need to talk.
Take care and please keep posting.

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Hi @Sandra

Welcome to the group and as others have pointed out it’s a great place to post your thoughts and issues with others going through similar situations. Like @Franko and you I have a family link to cancer as my Dad died of pancreatic cancer and my aunt/his sister of NHL. I’ve got an MPN and Liver issue so my cancer is benign but delivers the tiredness/itchy skin/sickness that the chemo drugs and anti coagulants have to offer. I spent most of last year ill or in hospital and thought 2020 was the start of a new beginning - how wrong I was. As others have said, the mental and emotional issues of shielding just add to the emotional stress as your brain goes into negative overdrive. I have found the forum a great place to sound off and get support when feeling overwhelmed. So hopefully we can do the same for you as we work together to cope with life’s ‘new normal’ . Lou

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