Understanding Stomach Cancer & CDH1

About 10% of stomach cancers are due to a genetic mutation inherited from a parent. CDH1 is a rare genetic mutation that puts a person at high risk of developing stomach cancer and a very aggressive form of stomach cancer called hereditary diffuse gastric cancer (HDGC).

CDH1 stands for "Cadherin 1." The gene is located on chromosome 16. CDH1 helps cells stick to one another to form tissues and organs. Most people don’t know if they should be tested for CDH1. Usually, testing is done if you have a family history of stomach cancer or lobular breast cancer. 

Finding out you have CDH1 can be frightening. Discussing your diagnosis with a specialist is an important first step. Not everyone who inherits the CDH1 gene will develop cancer. However, if your risk is high, there may be steps to decrease this chance. People in this category may consider getting a risk-reducing gastrectomy or stomach removal. While this may also seem unnerving, you can live a normal life without a stomach, with just a few manageable changes. 



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