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Genetic role in cancer topic of forum

Your DNA can play a big role in determining your odds of getting cancer.

“Genetic mutations can cause a much higher risk of cancer,” said Dr. Joanne Jeter, assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Arizona Cancer Center.

Heredity plays a major role because incidence of cancer in family members can mean an increased likelihood you will get the disease, she said.

“The most important thing is to know your family history of cancer,” Jeter said. “You want to identify who has these mutations and who doesn’t, who has high risk and who has standard risk.”

Jeter and Dr. Christina Laukaitis of the Arizona Cancer Center will present “Live Smarter: Cancer Genetics and You” at Tuesday’s University of Arizona Flandrau Science Center science cafe.

Science cafes are casual forums where people meet to discuss a particular scientific topic with UA researchers.

The event runs from 6-7:30 p.m. at Cushing Street Bar & Restaurant, 198 W. Cushing St.

Jeter said if a family tendency for a disease is identified, genetic counseling can lead doctors to test genetic material for mutations.

“Know the family history of disease. That will help identify people who need additional testing and may need additional interventions,” she said.

Strategies for at-risk people could include screening, chemotherapy or even surgical intervention, she said.

The science cafe event scheduled for May 5 – the final before a summer hiatus – will feature Peter Smith, principal investigator of the UA-led Phoenix Mars Lander mission, said Sam Kane, Flandrau’s associate director for marketing.

Smith will discuss the science that has occurred since the Lander arrived on Mars on May 25, Kane said.



What: Flandrau Science Center science cafe event

When: 6 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Cushing Street Bar & Restaurant, 198 W. Cushing St.

Topic: “Live Smarter: Cancer Genetics and You”

Presenters: Dr. Christina Laukaitis and Dr. Joanne Jeter

Cost: free, with food and beverages available for purchase

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