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Carcinogenesis. 2004 Apr;25(4):465-71. Epub 2003 Dec 4.

Ethical aspects of molecular epidemiology of cancer.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Kuopio, Kuopio, Finland.


In molecular epidemiology of cancer where many studies are genetic in nature and they are done among healthy people, ethical issues require special consideration. Genetic information differs from other health care information in that it is predictive in nature, and it always involves at least family members, but in some genetically very homogeneous populations even a wider group. General discussion of the potential good and harm should be encouraged more, so that it would be possible for lay people to make informed decisions. Personal involvement of scientists in education of public, general discussion and considering their own studies from the point of view of the study subject and their family is in the end the only way to ensure that the spirit of international regulations of ethics are realized in practise.

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