Genetic screening and counseling for high-risk populations

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As we enter the 21st century, we are witnessing a historic transition in science that will reveal the genetic basis of common medical conditions and have an enormous impact on biology, medicine, health care, and society. The role of genetics in understanding and treating cancer has traditionally been limited to the observation of cytogenetic abnormalities in certain tumor types. With the recent stimulus of the Human Genome Project, new opportunities to define all cancer in genetic terms are emerging. Efforts to characterize the several classes of genes involved in the transformation and growth of cancer cells have not only advanced knowledge of the genetic basis of cancer but also stimulated the development of sophisticated high throughput technologies that open a new generation of opportunities for the next decade of clinical research and application. Molecular genetic analysis will permit the identification of cancer susceptibility patterns decades before the onset of symptoms or the appearance of disease. The impact of this genetic revolution will shape the practice of medicine, and in particular, the practice of oncology, in many ways. The growing appreciation of the molecular basis of carcinogenesis will have clinical applications in understanding cancer etiology and assigning more precise estimates of risk; in tailoring screening and prevention approaches to populations at defined levels of risk; in improving accuracy of diagnosis and prognosis based on molecular profiles; and in the rational design of therapeutic modalities based on molecular targets.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOncology
Subtitle of host publicationAn Evidence-Based Approach
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)0387242910, 9780387242910
StatePublished - 2006


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