Cancer Hereditary

by Georgina Cornwall, PhD

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    We are clearly aware that some cancers are indeed hereditary. We have just been speaking about BRCA1 and BRCA2. But what proportion of cancers really are hereditary? It’s a question to say is cancer sort of a normal process of aging or is it something that’s really, I mean, obviously it’s bad. But is it something that we can really get rid of or no matter what, are we going to end up with cancer of something at some point because the machinery in general breaks down. Truthfully, when we look at it, the incidence of hereditary cancer, for example when we look at hereditary breast cancers with BRCA1 and BRCA2 markers, only account for 3% to 5% of breast cancer. Even if you do have those genes, it doesn’t necessitate the development of breast cancer. The most common cancer of all is colon cancer. About 10% to 15% of all cancers are colon cancers and only 4% of those are hereditary. I think about this one. It’s really interesting when you consider our diets these days and the kinds of chemicals that a lot of people are consuming, and preservatives and such that people are consuming, and gut biota in general may be less healthy than it should be. Perhaps these sporadic mutations that arise during our life are a result more of that than they are so of an environment than they are actually heredity. We tend to look around for an excuse of why it might have come about. But I think environment plays probably a much larger role than we think. Retinoblastoma which was for the Rb protein that I reintroduced earlier. Retinoblastoma is one of the first hereditary disorders that we had a good description of and good understanding of. It is actually probably...

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    The lecture Cancer Hereditary by Georgina Cornwall, PhD is from the course Population Genetics.

    Author of lecture Cancer Hereditary

     Georgina Cornwall, PhD

    Georgina Cornwall, PhD

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