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Are you vulnerable to cancer? Genes can tell

The most common cancer among Indians in future would be colorectal cancer. Junk food habits are a major contributor to this: Docs

lucknow Updated: Feb 01, 2013 13:44 IST
HT Correspondent

Your genes profile and family history can tell whether you are prone to develop cancer or not and studies across the globe have proven this.

Sharing her research work on ‘Cancer Genetics in Medical Practices’, Prof Shirley V Hodgson from St George’s Hospital Medical School, UK said it’s the change in genes that predicts possibility of having cancer.

“It’s possible. In fact 5% of the colorectal cancers are genetic and the same is the case with breast cancer,” she said.

She was delivering a lecture during an international workshop -- ‘Current Trends i n Genetic and Genomic Medicine’ -- organised by the Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences on Thursday. Several other research scholars such as Prof Sian Ellard, Prof Meena Upadhyaya and Dr MC Pant delivered lectures.

Giving an example of the genetic study, 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 with the lady found suitable for genetic screening. And if these changes are the same in both, the patient will fall under the ‘high-risk group’, which means she is likely to develop cancer just like her elders did.

However, this process cannot be adopted under the public health programmes as the tests are costly. Hence, the first thing required is to get the family history of the person and check if there has been cancer in the family earlier. This way, the most vulnerable person can be found and preventive measures can be taken, she added.

“Screening each person will be costly. Therefore, awareness about cancer vulnerability should be spread among family physicians and the common man. This will help keep a watch on the family history of individuals going through medical records,” said Prof Hodgson.

Dr MC Pant, director of the institute, said the most common cancer among Indians in future would be colon cancer, a major contribution for which has been made with change in eating habits. “Junk food habits among young urban Indians is making them vulnerable to colorectal cancer,” he said.

The programme was organised by Prof ML Bhatt, Dr Madhup Rastogi, Dr Bhuwan Tiwari, Dr Lalit Mohan Joshi, Dr SP Mishra and Dr Rahat Hadi. Prof Dhavendra Kumar, UK, provided a new direction to cancer chemotherapy and illustrated the scope of personalised and targeted molecular cancer therapy, which could be the future in patient care.

Prof Shubha Phadke and Prof S Aggarwal from SGPGI, Lucknow gave a brief account of facilities in genetics at their institute and the Indian perspective about the subject. Dr Bert De Vries, from the Netherlands, gave an illustrative account of malformations, developmental delay and its correlation with genetic pool. Prof Meena Upadhyaya, Cardiff, UK, in her deliberation, gave a vivid pictorial presentation of neurological disorders in paediatrics and adults due to genetic manifestation.

The programme was coordinated by Nimisha Sonker of the PR cell of the RML institute.