Is Appendix Cancer Hereditary?
Appendix cancer is a rare form of cancer with fewer than 1,000 cases diagnosed every year. While scientists are still researching the exact cause of appendix cancer, it is generally agreed that it is not hereditary, as no genetic or familial factors are known to cause this disease. However, having a family history of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) syndrome can be a risk factor for appendix cancer. Smoking tobacco, being a woman and having a health condition such as atrophic gastritis or pernicious anemia are also risk factors.
Symptoms of appendix cancer
For the large majority of patients with appendix cancer, symptoms do not appear until the cancer has reached an advanced stage. Some of the more common symptoms include:
- Changes in bowel function
- Bloating or an increase in the size of the stomach
- Loss of appetite
- Pain in the lower right side of the abdomen
Because appendix cancer is so rare, it is often diagnosed as a patient is receiving treatment for another medical condition, such as appendicitis. Commonly, it is diagnosed with lab tests and imaging tests. Advanced genomic testing may be recommended to learn about the tumor cells’ DNA and create an appropriate treatment plan.
Appendix cancer treatment at Moffitt Cancer Center
Moffitt Cancer Center offers diagnostics and treatment for appendix cancer. Our Gastrointestinal Oncology Program comprises some of the top appendiceal cancer experts in the nation, and we offer a multispecialty approach to our patients. Each patient is evaluated, treated and monitored by board-certified surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, endocrinologists, radiologists and pathologists who collaborate to develop individualized, comprehensive treatment plans.
What’s more, through our robust clinical trials program, our patients are among the first to benefit from promising new treatments for appendix cancer, such as novel chemotherapy drugs and surgical techniques. This commitment to groundbreaking research has allowed us to earn designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute, and we are the only such center based in Florida.