Inherited cancer case studies

Published on March 30, 2021   28 min

Other Talks in the Series: Introduction to Human Genetics and Genomics

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Inherited Cancer Case Studies. I'm Professor Shirley Hodgson, Emeritus Professor of Cancer Genetics, at St. George's University of London. In this talk, I'm going to talk about some cases that I've seen with inherited cancers and various issues that have occurred, and how they've been dealt with in the clinic.
The first thing I wanted to just emphasise is the importance of clinical observation and pedigree analysis. Those are the key things in looking after people with inherited cancers. So pedigree evaluation includes obtaining confirmation of diagnosis and you do have to get consent, of course, from living affected relatives, so that sometimes causes some difficulties in families, but obtaining confirmation of the diagnosis from the registry of people who have died is much easier. Of course, one of the things we have to be aware of is that sometimes people come with fictitious cancer family histories. It's always a thing to wonder why they should do this, but perhaps they want to be looked after in some way. But sometimes people do say that they've got more of a family history of cancer than in fact is the case. The other side of it is that sometimes relatives don't tell them about cancers, because there's this feeling that this is not appropriate and they shouldn't admit to having cancer. Again, sometimes the relationships are wrong. You sometimes find that you're talking to somebody whose mother isn't in fact their mother, it's their aunt and the aunt has adopted the person you are talking to. And then relatives declining a genetic test is another constant issue.
Just a very simple example of how important it is to know about the family history is, someone comes and says, "Oh, my father had colon cancer at 55 and his brother had colon cancer at 52. But my paternal grandfather died in the war."