Specialist in cancer genetics visits Levine Cancer Institute
By Andrew Doud
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
The Levine Cancer Institute is looking at new ways to not only treat cancer, but prevent it.
Tuesday, a leading expert in the field of cancer genetics was at Levine Cancer Institute in Midtown to talk to doctors about her research and how it can be applied to help people discover if they may be at higher risk for the disease.
Dr. Charis Eng specializes in cancer genetics. She founded a program around the topic at the Cleveland Clinic and during a conference Tuesday at the Levine Cancer Institute she shared with doctors how mapping a person’s genetics can help with cancer treatment.
"Cancer genetics studies the mutation and how it leads to predisposition to cancer," Eng said.
Dr. Edward Kim with LCI said in many cases, treating cancer is largely reactive.
"When someone shows up with advanced cancer, we can only try and put a band aid on it and help patients get through and find treatments for them," Kim said.
Breaking down a person’s genetics can make treatment more proactive.
"Then it helps us identify that patient earlier and it allows us to try and prevent the cancer to occur as opposed to treating it when it's already come," Kim said.
Eng said they can look at a number of factors when it comes to cancer genetics, including family history, but if you know someone is predisposed to getting cancer it will lead to earlier screenings.
There are few programs nationwide, and the field of experts is very small.
"There are 600 medical geneticists in the country. That's fewer than professional astronauts," Eng said.
That's why she said stops at regional medical centers like Levine to explain the field of medicine and inform doctors are so important.