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Cancer Genetics

According to the Gale Encyclopedia of Cancer, cancer genetics is the study of the changes in genes (mutations) that lead to changes in cells that cause cancer. The study of these mutations provides understanding of how these genetic processes can result in cancer. This research plays a significant role in the early detection, therapy, prevention, and prognosis of the disease.

Internet Resources

Cancer.gov: Cancer Genetics
This link from the National Cancer Institute provides an overview of the genetics of cancer as well as links to other resources.

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.

American Cancer Society: Genetics and Cancer
The American Cancer Society has many resources available to patients, families, and caregivers.

Cancer.net: Cancer Genetics
The American Society of Clinical Oncology, the professional organization of cancer physicians, provides accurate, reliable, and current information about cancer.

The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University at Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Contains information about the many services offered by the Lurie Cancer Center, one of thirteen founding members of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN).


  • Medical Genetics. Jorde LB et al. 2010.
  • Essentials of medical genetics for health professionals. Gunder LM. 2011.
  • Contemporary issues in women’s cancers. Lockwood, S, ed. 2009.
  • Pretty is what changes: impossible choices, the breast cancer gene, and how I defied my destiny. Queller, J. 2008.
  • Cancer genetics: Gale encyclopedia of cancer. Longe J, ed. 2010.Available in print at the Health Learning Center or electronically at http://www.nmh.org/nm/health+library+virtual+library.

Journal Articles

  • “Genetic screening for prostate cancer.” Harvard Men’s Health Watch. 13(8):6-7. March 2009.
  • “Cancer care expands to include genetic testing.” Johns Hopkins Medical Letter, Health After 50. 20(11):4-5. January 2009.
  • “Colon cancer about-face: new findings say family history now may aid survival. New study finds risk of recurrence is reduced between 18 and 51 percent if one or more close relatives had cancer.” Duke Medicine Health News. 14(9):9-10. September 2008.
  • “Health for life. Your lifestyle, your genes, and cancer.” Newsweek. 151(25):40-3. June 23, 2008.


Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Alberto Culver 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.

FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered
This non-profit organization provides support, education, advocacy, and research specific to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact the Alberto Culver Health Learning Center at 312-926-5465, or e-mail us at HLC@nmh.org.

Last UpdateOctober 29, 2012