Cancer Genetics

Cancer genetics is the study of how genetic changes contribute to the development and progression of cancer. Genetic changes can occur in two main types of genes: oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes.

Oncogenes are genes that normally help regulate cell growth and division. When mutated or overactive, they can promote uncontrolled cell growth and division, leading to cancer. Tumor suppressor genes, on the other hand, normally help prevent the development of cancer by inhibiting cell growth and division. When these genes are mutated or inactive, cells can grow and divide uncontrollably, leading to the development of cancer.

Genetic testing can help identify mutations in genes that are associated with an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations in breast and ovarian cancer. Genetic testing can also be used to guide treatment decisions, such as determining whether a patient is likely to respond to certain targeted therapies.

Advances in cancer genetics research have led to the development of new therapies, such as targeted therapies and immunotherapies, that are designed to target specific genetic mutations or changes in cancer cells. Additionally, genetic testing and counseling can help individuals understand their risk of developing cancer and make informed decisions about screening, prevention, and treatment.

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