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Identifying patients

The majority of conditions you will see in your clinical practice are due to a combination of environmental and genetic factors. The relative contributions of each may vary from condition to condition and from patient to patient.

For some conditions, it is possible to suggest life-style changes to take into account known environmental influences. For other conditions, knowing the genetic basis can give information about the chance other family members may also develop or be a carrier for the condition. Genetic information is also being used to target therapy - understanding the genetic basis of a patient’s tumour, for example, can be used to select a therapy most likely to be effective for that person.

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So how can health professional identify those patients with a greater probability of their condition having a major genetic component?

There are some key clinical activities which can help. These are: