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Checking the scoreboard: the impact of cancer genetics on clinical practice

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Improvements in cancer care have historically been predicated on significant scientific and technological advances, such as antisepsis in surgery, and the discovery of the therapeutic benefits of radiation and chemotherapeutic drugs. The past 30 years have seen an exponential increase in our knowledge of the biology and genetics of cancer, built on a massive and sustained research effort worldwide. Yet over the same period, significant changes in cancer outcomes have occurred largely as a result of public health measures and through incremental advances in existing technologies. The present paper examines the extent to which the new knowledge of cancer genetics has impacted on current patient care. It considers some of the issues that may have served to lessen this impact, as well as some of the reasons for this apparent imbalance between action and outcome. (Intern Med J 2001; 31: 249–253)

Keywords: cancer; genetics; research; technology; treatment

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Pathology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Publication date: 2001-05-01

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