What can a germ line analysis tell you about your cancer? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Germ line DNA is that DNA you’ve had in your body since birth. Many experts recommend that if you develop a cancer you should have this analyzed as well as changes to your DNA you’ve acquired to determine how best to treat you, but these analyses are done very infrequently, a new study shows. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, says one barrier is a dearth of genetic counselors.

Nelson: To communicate this information historically what we've done is have genetic counselors meet with someone. There's not anywhere near enough genetic counselors in the entire universe to accommodate all the testing that's been recommended. We need a new approach to how we conduct this testing, how we explain the results and how we take advantage of it especially since now it influences the treatments that we select.           :24

Nelson says if you aren’t offered germ line testing you should ask about whether it’s appropriate for you. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.