How genes affect the risk of developing cancer
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How genes affect the risk of developing cancer

Paul Scotting Associate professor and reader, Development and cancer biology, School of Biology, University of Nottingham
Penny Howard Lecturer, School of Nursing, Midwifery, University of Nottingham

Whether a person develops cancer depends not only on carcinogen-induced mutations but also on the precise sequence of the genes they inherit, as Paul Scotting and Penny Howard discuss

Genetic testing is increasingly used to analyse whether a person carries an increased risk of developing a particular cancer. This is based on the observation that damage to specific genes is associated with specific cancers. In most cases, that damage occurs in a single cell, which then goes on to form cancer. However, there are also many examples in which a mutation is inherited from a parent in every cell of a person’s body, and this makes them more prone to specific types of cancer. This article discusses the nature of the genes that are inherited in this way, how they are altered and the extent to which they affect an individual’s risk of developing cancer.

Cancer Nursing Practice. 12, 6, 19-23. doi: 10.7748/cnp2013.


Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review.

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 22 April 2013

Accepted: 21 May 2013