DEC 08, 2016 6:46 AM PST

Cancer and Genetics


The field of genetics and genomics is becoming more relevant in cancer treatment. While not every cancer has a genetic cause, some genetic syndromes can impact the type of treatment a cancer patient needs to receive. Genetic screening can also tell patients and health care providers what kind of cancers they might be more pre-disposed to. Certain genetic make ups can preclude the use of ionizing radiation, so knowing that a patient has a particular mutation is valuable information since high grade radiation is the standard of care in cases of glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer.

In addition to providing information on treatment options, knowing a person's specific genetic make up can provide insight into any pre-dispositions to certain cancers. For example, while Li-Fraumeni syndrome, a mutation on the TP53 tumor suppressor gene, is rare, people who have it are at risk for brain cancer, breast cancer and soft tissue sarcomas. Knowing that this mutation is present can allow patients to make more informed decisions if they develop cancer as well as take preventative measures to mitigate their increased risk.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
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