A study undertaken by the researchers from Harvard University has stated that a twin sibling diagnosed with cancer poses a threat for the other to develop any form of the disease including common cancers such as breast and prostate and rare cancers such as testicular, head, neck, melanoma, ovarian and stomach.
The study for the first time revealed that in twins where both developed cancer, each twin often developed a different type of cancer, suggesting that some families share an increased risk of any form of cancer. This was realized after the researchers studied the variation in cancer risk of the population due to certain genetic factors.
Researchers for the study looked at more than 200,000 twins, both identical and fraternal, who were followed for an average of 32 years between 1943 and 2010. One in three people developed cancer over the course of a lifetime in which, cancer was diagnosed in both the twins for 3,316 pairs. Of these, the same cancer was diagnosed among 38% of the identical twins and 26 % of the fraternal twins. Study also showed that when one fraternal twin was diagnosed with any form of cancer then chances of the co–twin getting cancer was 37 % whereas the risk jumps to 46% in case of identical twins.