Genes Can Tell If You Are Vulnerable To Cancer

by HT Correspondent ,  Hindustan Times | 2013-02-01

A study on your family history and genes profile can tell whether you are prone to develop cancer or not. Studies across the globe confirm this.

Prof Shirley V Hodgson from St George’s Hospital Medical School, UK shared her research work on ‘Cancer Genetics in Medical Practices’ and said it’s the change in genes that predicts possibility of having cancer, specifically, 5% of the colorectal cancers and breast cancers are genetic, she said. Genes-tell-if-you-are-prone-to-get-cancer

Giving an example of the genetic study, in a lecture yesterday, Prof Hodgson said if you have a person whose mother had breast cancer at the age of 35, sister at the age of 30 and grandmother too had it, then, the lady under screening should be considered as a suitable case for genetic screening.

The genetic changes in the mother or sister are then matched and if these changes are the same in both, the patient will fall under the ‘high-risk group’ as in is likely to develop cancer just like her elders did.

However, this process cannot be adopted under the public health programs due to the high costs. But the first thing required, getting the family history of a person, is accessible. Thus, checking if there has been cancer in the family can be great, and preventive measures can be taken, Hodgson added.

Spreading the word among family physicians and the public, is another way to reduce costs of screening. It is something to look for when screening the family history of individuals going through medical records, said Prof Hodgson.

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