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Dr. Shiller on Hereditary Predisposition to Cancer

Shirley Michelle Shiller, DO, member of the Precision Medicine Institute's Advisory Committee, Baylor University Medical Center, discusses a patient’s hereditary predisposition to cancer.

Shirley Michelle Shiller, DO, member of the Precision Medicine Institute's Advisory Committee, Baylor University Medical Center, discusses hereditary predisposition to cancer.

There are many facets of hereditary predisposition to cancer, explains Shiller. Though this is a relatively new area, several studies have suggested that physicians have underestimated the hereditary risk of developing cancer. The data suggest it could be as high as 1 in 10 patients who have a familial predisposition if not a hereditary predisposition to cancer.

Screening patients for hereditary risk is not currently available for use in practice. Before physicians are able to adopt this modality into practice, they have to improve existing technology and diagnostic acumen, states Shiller. Once physicians can streamline these aspects of practice, patients at the time of receiving their cancer diagnosis will be able to have their tumor considered for somatic markers to guide therapy. At this time, physicians will also be able to identify markers that determine whether the patient has a hereditary predisposition to cancer, says Shiller.

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