The Anonymous Widower

DNA Sequencing On The NHS

This is due to be announced soon and it’s already here on the Downing Street web-site.

Sadly, it’s too late for my wife and son, who died of cancer in 2007 2010 respectively.

My wife had a squamous cell carcinoma of the heart, which is so rare and deadly, that I don’t think any new technique would have helped. The doctors at Papworth Hospital, where she was treated had never seen such a vicious cancer. Short of a transplant or an unexpected miracle nothing could have saved her.

In my son’s case of pancreatic cancer, his lifestyle hadn’t helped and he  might have stood a chance, if Trafford General Hospital where he was first treated in Manchester had picked it up earlier. As it is, they didn’t and Addenbrooke’s took their time too, as it was unexpected. Knowing what I know now, I would have got him to Cambridge earlier or taken him to Liverpool, where treatment of pancreatic cancer is a specialty.

So although the sequencing of cancer sufferers DNA will help in many cases, it wouldn’t have helped in their two cases, which were so tragic for my family.

What would have helped my son, would have been better diagnosis of his problem at an earlier date.

My wife went to the hospital fairly soon after she started running out of puff. She also led an exemplary life with regard to food, drink, not smoking and keeping very fit. Although that couldn’t be said for my son, who smoked heavily. And not just tobacco!

As an aside here, I am a coeliac.

This disease can be picked up by looking at the DNA.  So if DNA sequencing becomes commonplace, looking for hereditary diseases like this  may be a sensible and worthwhile use of the technique.

December 10, 2012 - Posted by | Health, News | , , , , ,

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