The old adage that you can choose your friends but not your family holds true when looking at your cancer risks.
Today people live for longer than at any other time in history. For instance in the 19th century, more babies died from disease, men and children died early working in the mines, plagues carried off the frail, women died in childbirth, and 40 was considered a ripe old age!
So cancer did still kill people back then but it killed less people because people died of other things long before they were ever at risk of a cancer. Today more people live until they are over 70, but 1 in 4 people over 70 will have a cancer.