Genetic counselling for people with family history of cancer

Last Updated: Monday, August 5, 2013 - 19:47

New Delhi: People having family history of cancer can now go for genetic counselling for early detection of the genes which cause cancer and adopt early preventive measures.

Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here has launched a comprehensive Hereditary Cancer Genetic Programme in North India to identify cancer disposing genes.

Under the programme, high risk families are counselled to help them cope and understand the risks and offered genetic testing for cancer predisposing genes to estimate individualised risk.

"Those who are already affected with cancer are made to understand how genetic mutation can affect their future treatment. As part of the genetic counseling, predictive genetic testing will be offered to unaffected family members who are at risk," said Dr I C Verma, Director of Department of Genetics at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

Genetic testing is available for genes that cause cancer of breast, ovaries, colon, eyes (retinoblastoma), brain, sarcomas, thyroid, pancreas, kidneys, prostate and leukemias / lymphomas in the NABL accredited genetic laboratory.

"Individuals testing positive can reduce their risk by adopting preventive strategies such as prophylactic surgery (removal of breast, ovaries, uterus), chemo-prevention (using drugs to reduce the chance of developing cancer, or life-style changes (having children at an early age (breast cancer), restraining from smoking and alcohol consumption (oral and lung cancer), reducing UV exposure (skin cancer), and avoiding environmental exposure to cancer causing chemicals," Verma explained.

They can also adopt increased surveillance and monitoring which includes more regular clinical examinations, mammographs, MRIs, ultrasound and other clinical investigations (CA125 levels, Calcitonin levels) to help detect cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage, he added.

This service will be run by trained genetic counselling experts, medical, surgical, pediatric oncologists, and cyto-pathologists.

"Genetic counselling should be sought by all those who have a close blood relative suffering from cancer at an early age, more than one blood relative suffering from cancer or diagnosed with a rare cancer, such as male breast cancer or sarcoma," said Dr Pratibha Bhai, Consultant Scientist of Department of Genetics.

Genetic testing is available for genes that cause cancer of breast, ovaries, colon, eyes (retinoblastoma), brain, sarcomas, thyroid, pancreas, kidneys, prostate and leukemias or lymphomas in the NABL accredited genetic laboratory, she said.

"Those who are already affected with cancer are made to understand that how genetic mutation can affect their future treatment. As part of the genetic counselling, predictive genetic testing will be offered to unaffected family members who are at risk," Bhai added.

PTI



First Published: Monday, August 5, 2013 - 19:47

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