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Genomic screening for improved public health
Date:3/7/2013

lop colon cancer prompting doctor to suggest genetic testing or it is identified by analysis of their own or a family member's tumor. If, instead, at-risk people could be identified before cancer has occurred, a program of early, regular colonoscopy screening would help prevent the disease in the first place the researchers argue.

Using a preventive approach, the general public could be offered a panel of tests for this and other selected genes for which preventive care or early treatment is available, the researchers say. But discussion about which genes to include in such a panel will take time, as will the necessary research into the cost-effectiveness of such testing, as well as ethical, legal, and social implications. Now is the time to begin the discussion, they say, and to form a new partnership between geneticists and members of the public health community to help realize the full promise of public health genomics.

"Investigating the possible benefits of such screening, as well as the challenges and potential pitfalls that might exist, should involve a partnership between the genomics community and the public health community," said Evans. "There would be many important issues to sort out, including which genes should be screened and how individuals respond to screening."


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Contact: Kathy Beal
kbeal@acmg.net
301-238-4582
American College of Medical Genetics
Source:Eurekalert

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