Journal Mobile

JN Berg, J Dunlop
Journal Issue: 
Volume 38: Issue 3: 2008




Over the past 14 years, since the discovery of the first gene for breast cancer (BRCA1), cancer genetics has become an increasingly important part of the workload of clinical genetics services, now accounting for approximately half of all referrals.  Such  referrals  may  occur  for  a  number  of  different  reasons  –  where  a healthy patient is concerned that their family history of cancer places them at a significant risk of cancer themselves; where a patient with cancer is worried about the  risk  of  cancer  to  their  relatives;  where  a  clinician  feels  that  a  patient  has  a strong family history that suggests a genetic predisposition; and where a clinician feels  that  a  patient  has  an  unusual  form  of  cancer  that  suggests  a  genetic predisposition.The role of the clinical geneticist is to assess cancer risk, develop individualised  management  strategies  for  those  at  increased  risk  of  cancer,  offer genetic testing if appropriate and facilitate family communication.