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Colon Cancer Detection Goes a Step Further

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common yet preventable forms of cancer. It affects both men and women. Like every condition, prevention is always best and new moves are happening in that direction. If you knew what other cancers you are likely to get before you do and who else in your family is likely to get cancer, wouldn’t that be something useful towards prevention? This is what new research is trying to establish. The new intervention applies a genomic lens to cancers to identify which other types of cancer run in families.

With that information doctors can identify other family members that are at a high risk of developing cancer. Here are the important points to note:

  • Statistics show that one in five cases of cancer and one in 15 cases of colon cancer are associated with hereditary genetic mutations. Hereditary cancer often requires a personalized approach based on the patient’s genetic makeup. The researchers are working toward testing of, not just those with a family history of cancer, but all cancer patients for inherited mutations.
  • With this approach, doctors can use drugs targeting the genetic mutations causing the cancer instead of a particular tumor. This approach would minimize side effects while effectively treating the cancers.
  • If the test finds a patient with an inherited cancer, researchers say there is a 50 percent chance that immediate family members may have the same genetic variation. This means there is a high likelihood they will develop the same cancer. About half of such inherited cancers remain undetected using current testing methods.

Genetic testing can detect the underlying cause of hereditary cancer. Where there is a risk of developing other types of cancer, doctors can suggest prevention measures such as a hysterectomy for preventing uterine cancer. Preventing a second and even first cancer in family members is a huge milestone in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

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