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Cancer and the Environment: Gene-Enviroment Interaction
the bench to the bedside, and then back to the bench, if we are to make progress, they suggested.
Finally, we have to enhance skills and obtain better technologies in the area of risk communication. A few speakers suggested that the media is looking to the scientific community for guidance, but the message must be clear. Individuals in the community are looking for answers but often are frustrated, according to some speakers.
Since the Cancer Act of 1972, many reports on cancer have discussed the policy implications of current cancer research. The Institute of Medicine has released a number of these, including Ensuring Quality Cancer Care and The Unequal Burden of Cancer. One speaker reminded individuals that these reports contained a number of recommendations that have not yet been implemented.
Additionally, we will have to allow broad access to population group data, but we must ensure patient consent and protection of patients’ rights. There will be a number of ethical–legal–social implications of genetic research that have to be defined and debated. Handling issues related to technology transfer will continue to be important in order to advance research results. The science community will have to give guidance in these areas to Congress and the public.
Overall, many participants felt that we were making tremendous strides in the war on cancer. People felt that being diagnosed with cancer is no longer a death sentence and that the future holds promise for further progress in both treatment and prevention.