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Cancer Genetics Pathfinder

According to the Gale Encyclopedia of Cancer, cancer genetics is the study of the processes by which multiple alterations occur in genes that result in cellular changes, causing cancer. The genetic alterations, also called mutations, disrupt the normal DNA sequences of genetic structures. Cancer genetics focuses on finding and understanding the causes of the mutations. This research plays a significant role in the early detection, therapy, prevention, and prognosis of the disease.

Internet Resources Books Journal Articles Support

Internet Resources Cancer Genetics
Provides access to authoritative documents from the National Cancer Institute, including information about treatment, supportive care, and clinical trials.
Genetics Home Reference: Your Guide to Understanding Genetic Conditions
Designed and maintained by the National Library of Medicine, this Web site contains consumer information about genetic conditions and the genes or chromosomes responsible for those conditions. Also includes a clearly written handbook, Help Me Understand Genetics.
NCBI Education: Molecular Biology
Scroll to the bottom of the page to find a Science Primer. This resource introduces users to tools that researchers use for exploring the molecular bases of disease. An ASCO Web site
Designed especially for cancer patients by the cancer professionals of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, this site is dedicated to providing accurate, reliable, current information about cancer. Articles on cancer genetics are included.


Cancer Genetics: Gale Encyclopedia of Cancer 2. v.1:201-205. Longe J, ed. Available in print at the Health Learning Center or electronically at

Journal Articles

"First Pass at Cancer Genome Reveals Complex Landscape." Science. 313(5792):1370. Kaiser J. September 8, 2006.
"Gene Profiling Coming of Age in Cancer Therapy." Johns Hopkins Medical Letter, Health after 50. 17(4):4-6. June 2005.
"Genetic Testing for Cancer: A Complex Decision." Harvard Women's Health Watch. 8(6):2-4. February 2001.
"Inherited Gene Affects Tamoxifen's Benefit in Some Breast Cancers." Mayo Clinic Women's Healthsource. 10(6):3. June 2006.
"Lung Cancer: Not Just for Smokers. People Who Never Smoked May Have a Different Form of the Disease That Responds Better to a New Generation of Targeted Medications." Harvard Health Letter. 32(3):4-5. January 2007.


Northwestern Memorial Hospital's Health Learning Center has joined forces with the American Cancer Society's Patient Navigator Program to provide assistance to patients and families dealing with cancer. To take advantage of this unique service, provided by a licensed clinical social worker, call 312-926-4282.