Thoracic Cancer Genetics

Changes in a person’s genes or DNA—called mutations—can alter the way cells function, causing cells to grow and divide, which can lead to cancer. An inherited cancer is caused by an abnormal gene that is passed along from generation to generation. According to the American Cancer Society, only five to 10 percent of all cancers are inherited. Cancer-causing genetic changes can also be acquired naturally during a person’s lifetime or from exposure to substances that damage or change the structure of a person’sDNA. Though specific cancers may appear to "run n families," more than likely this is due to environmental  adverse factors such as nicotine or asbestos which are leading cause of lung cancer and mesothelioma.  

Genetic testing can identify specific mutation patterns in patients with a malignancy. It can confirm whether a type of cancer is the result of an inherited syndrome, and whether healthy family members possess the same DNA mutation and may be at  risk for developing specific cancers. At the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Lung Center, cancer genetics specialists work in association with  advanced radiologic techniques to detect and treat cancer at its earliest stage. Once a cancer is identified our multidisciplinary team of pulmonologists, thoracic surgeons, and oncologists  evaluate specific DNA tumor sequences in order to identify precision molecular and immunologic agents to target cancer cells. This personalized care approach uses state-of-the-art precision medical testing and therapy to match the specific  cancer with it’s unique  genetic makeup with the most effective tailored therapy for the individual. Learn more about the Pulmonary Genetics Center.

Our affiliation with Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center and the International Mesothelioma Program allow us to to access uniquely new therapies and research in cancer genetics for the benefit of our patients.

Thoracic Cancer Genetics Topics

Make an Appointment

Call The Lung Center at 1-844-BWH-LUNG (1-844-294-5864) to make an appointment with a critical care medicine specialist or request an appointment online.

Refer a Patient

Physicians can call 1-844-BWH-LUNG (1-844-294-5864) to refer a patient or can make an online referral.

Palliative Care Specialists

The Lung Center is located at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) at the 15 Francis Street entrance. Thoracic surgery, pulmonary and critical care medicine and thoracic imaging are adjacent to one another, making accessibility and appointment scheduling seamless.


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