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Relationship between Genetics and Cancer

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Biology
Wordcount: 1187 words Published: 3rd Nov 2020

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Cancer causing genes that affect the way cells grow, duplicate and separate are passed down through family lineages. The prevalence of cancer has brought precision medicine and made it a key factor of nursing practice. With everyone affected by cancer, whether directly or indirectly it places nurses on the frontline. Precision medicine is an evolving and intriguing approach to cancer prevention and treatment. It focuses on the person’s lifestyle, gene variant and environment. Genetic changes that develop cancer growth can be inherited from our family if the progressions are available in gene cells (American Nurse Today, 2019). Different variants include bigger mutations of DNA and may incorporate adjustments, removals, or duplications of extended lengths of DNA.  There are more genetic differences by cancer cells than normal cells and cancer cells of each individual have a unique combination of genetic changes (McCormick et al., 2016).

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There are few tests available specifically for cancer cells. The first-generation DNA sequencing method, Sanger is a technique that uses oligonucleotide primers that examine specific regions of genes. These assessments study the genome profile of the patient’s tumor, in search of anomalies (Price et al., n.d.).  The results are then paired with drug therapies that may not have otherwise been thought of. This incorporates pharmacogenomics and this is the move towards precise cancer treatment plan, instead of the traditional process, which can expose patients to inappropriate and even dangerous therapies. With advanced genomic research they focus on examining a single individual and the patient’s tumor that’s being examined. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology has the ability to simultaneously test multiple genes susceptibility to cancer without increasing the price. Despite their differences, NGS and Sanger sequencing share a parallel process that utilizes the genes duplicating method with the intention of finding the specific portion of sequence (Price et al., n.d.).

Assessing the genetic risk of a patient, healthcare staff should proficient in explaining the relations of genetic screening, monitoring prevention and treatment. In addition, assessing the patient’s knowledge and perceptions of genetic and genomic facts is important and addressing concerns or fears. The effect of genomic data and innovation can possibly improve social insurance results, quality, and security, and result in cost investment funds. If a person is found to have the cancer cell in their genes there isn’t much for actual cancer prevention (American Nurse Today, 2019). There’s chemoprevention which lowers the risk of cancer and attempts to stop it from returning as well. The substances may be natural or made in the laboratory. High risk cancer patients are tested with some chemo preventive agents. Genetics research is more significant to the quality and results of patient care. Regardless of a nurse’s academic degree, nurses need to complete genetic competencies (McCormick, & Calzone, 2016). Nurse should incorporate genetic and genomic information into practice and engaged in staff development activities, including booklets, pocket cards, identifying consultation resources.

Genetic testing has limits and can give an array of emotional consequences. It’s to be expected that people would share the information with their family and loved ones. This communication is encouraged but has potential for unintended implications like depression, guilt, anxiety or false sense of security. Genetic testing that results show you may be predisposed even though they aren’t sick may have families making decision incorrectly. On the other hand, people who are negative the specific genes may have the false sense of security and make poor decisions. A gene mutation might be a variant of unknown implication and isn’t discovered to be connect to any cancer. These are just some of the personal and social aspects that families need to inform about. Genetic counseling is the solution to help families understand and decipher the information (American Nurse Today, 2019). For more data on genetics, genomics, and family history, there are tools like the American Academy of Family Physicians Genomics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another resource is the Genetic Alliance that endorses awareness and provide links about family health history in different languages. Additionally, there’s organizations like Sema4 and 10xGenomics that is patient-centered medical analytics agency based on the idea that more data, more in-depth analysis and greater participation would enhance illness detection, treatment and prevention. Finally, there’s the U.S. Surgeon General which has a website that goes over family history and web-based tool to create, establish and print information of family history (McCormick, & Calzone, 2016).

Cancer is a disease that is complex. This means that both environmental, lifestyle factors and genetic factors are influencers. The associations between cancer and environmental factors are multifaceted and differ individually. The article brings to light the massive advancement to cancer prevention and prediction. It’s a very intricate process but through dedicated research and critical thinking we’re making positive strides. Genetics research is more significant to the quality and results of patient care. Regardless of a nurse’s academic degree, nurses need to complete genetic competencies (McCormick, & Calzone, 2016). Nurses should integrate genetic and genomic data into training, including booklets, pocket cards, the identification of consultation tools, and participate in staff growth activities. It is clear that it is important to bring the entire nursing community to the head of genetic health sciences. The policy making process will be affect health care practices when nurses and their organization are empowered in this area (American Nurse Today, 2019). Being an expert in all areas of genomics isn’t necessary for nurses but understanding the basics will enable them to aid patients, families and their community.


  • American Nurse Today. (2019, October 16). Genetics in the clinical setting. Retrieved from https://www.americannursetoday.com/genetics-clinical-setting/.
  • Calzone, K. A., Cashion, A., Feetham, S., Jenkins, J., Prows, C. A., Williams, J. K., & Wung, S. F. (2010). Nurses transforming health care using genetics and genomics. Nursing outlook, 58(1), 26–35. doi:10.1016/j.outlook.2009.05.001
  • McCormick, K. A., & Calzone, K. A. (2016). The impact of genomics on health outcomes, quality, and safety. Nursing management, 47(4), 23–26. doi:10.1097/01.NUMA.
  • Price, K. S., Svenson, A., King, E., Ready, K., & Lazarin, G. A. (n.d.). Inherited Cancer in the Age of Next-Generation Sequencing - Kristin S. Price, Ashley Svenson, Elisabeth King, Kaylene Ready, Gabriel A. Lazarin, 2018. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com /doi/10.1177/1099800417750746.


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