The Use of a Diagnostic Database in Clinical Oncogenetics
1 Department of Clinical Genetics, Groningen University Hospital, Groningen
2 Department of Pathology, SAZINON Foundation, Bethesda Hospital, Hoogeveen, The Netherlands
Hereditary Cancer in Clinical Practice 2003, 1:31-33 doi:10.1186/1897-4287-1-1-31Published: 15 December 2003
In addition to a relatively small number of well known hereditary cancer syndromes, hundreds of presumed or proven hereditary disorders have been observed to manifest cancer as a characteristic feature or as a possible complication. The recognition of these disorders may be of great importance for the medical management of the families involved. Specialized databases, like the Familial Cancer Database (FaCD, http://www.facd.info webcite), may be helpful in the making of differential diagnoses and offer advantages compared with traditional textbooks and on-line literature searches. Based on our own experience and interviews with the other Dutch family cancer clinics, we expect that in similar clinics, computer-assisted differential diagnosis will be primarily used in helping to decide whether or not cancer patients and families should be referred to family cancer clinics for further study and counseling. FaCD has been developed as a tool for experts. As general practitioners and other health professionals with non-expert knowledge of cancer genetics are under increasing pressure to advise on genetic risks, it should be encouraged that other software is developed to support them in interpreting family histories of cancer.