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Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer 

What Is HDGC Syndrome?

HDGC is a rare inherited disorder that causes an individual to be at increased risk for gastric cancer and a specific type of breast cancer. 

What Causes It?

We have thousands of genes that all have specific jobs in our bodies.  People who have HDGC have a change, or a mutation, in a gene called CDH1.   Our CDH1 gene usually works to protect us from developing cancer.  Without our CDH1 gene working, a person can be at increased risk for cancer.  

Mutations in CDH1 can be passed down from someone’s mother or father.  Sometimes these mutations happen by chance in a person whose parent’s do not have a mutation in CDH1.  There is nothing someone can do to cause a mutation in CDH1 to happen, nor anything you can do to prevent it from happening.  Individuals with a CDH1 mutation have a 50% chance of passing it on to their children. 

Do You Need To Be Tested?

You should consider testing for HDGC syndrome if:

  • You have a family history of gastric (stomach) cancer
  • You have a personal history of ‘diffuse’ gastric cancer
  • You have a family history of lobular breast cancer and gastric cancer

What Is The Testing Process?

The genetic counselor will assess your personal and family history to see if you are at risk for HDGC.  If testing is appropriate, a blood test can show if you have a CDH1 mutation.  The blood test may take several weeks. 

Why Would I Want To Know?

Knowledge of a gene mutation in your family is very helpful for doctors when screening, diagnosing, and treating patients for cancer.  Since HDGC is passed down by family members, we can identify people at high risk to develop cancer and provide them with early detection and treatment options. 

How Can I Learn More About This?

Ask your doctor if you’re at risk for hereditary diffuse gastric cancer syndrome or call 1.800.4BAYLOR to learn more about the genetic counseling process.