Evaluating germline genetics, environmental exposures and patient characteristics to understand cancer predisposition, cancer survival and response to cancer treatment
We plan to study the genetic code (letters of the genetic material inside our bodies) of participants of UK Biobank to understand which letter changes are associated with a higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer, dying from cancer or experiencing a serious adverse reaction to a cancer treatment. Specific letter changes in the human genetic code have been found that are more common in patients with cancer and less common in patients without cancer and similarly other letter changes in the genetic code have been shown to be useful in identifying patients more likely to suffer from an unwanted side effect if treated with a particular cancer treatment. We expect that our project will take 3 years to complete and the genetic changes that we identify can be tested for in simple blood tests. We hope our work will help doctors start looking earlier for signs that a cancer is forming in the patients that are most likely to develop cancer. It may also help patients modify their lifestyles and behaviours to lower their risk of cancer. We hope our work will also help cancer patients and their doctors make informed decisions about the best cancer treatment to give patients the best chance of beating cancer whilst also having as good a quality of life as possible during treatment.