A Surgeon and Genetics: "What I cannot see does not exist. So forget about genetics!"

Berci Mesko is a 6th year medical students in Hungary with a passion for genetics and Web 2.0. He reports mini-impressions of his surgery rotation on Twitter:

One of the surgeons told me tonight: "What I cannot see does not exist. So forget about genetics!"

Well, I'm not so sure -- consider this link:

Colorectal Cancer Gene Mutation Found. Odds of Developing Colorectal Cancer May Be 9 Times Higher for Mutation Carriers. WebMD.

"The mutation, which lies in a gene called TGFBR1, was found in about 10% to 20% of the 242 colorectal cancer patients the researchers studied, compared to 3% of 195 adults without colorectal cancer.

The researchers aren't recommending TGFBR1 gene tests just yet. But such tests "may become part of clinical practice when evaluating a patient's colon cancer risk."

There is a relationship between genetics and surgery after all.

Disclaimer: The author greatly respects surgery and surgeons.

Image source: Stomach diagram, Wikipedia.


  1. After my 2nd surgery, on the same shoulder, and more surgeries needed to repair damage done by dislocations that occur everytime I move, my husband asked my ortho. surgeon if i could have ehlers-danlos syndrome. Unknown to him, my daughter has just been diagnosed w/ eds, my mother died when I was yound and had symptons of eds, her father too etc... This doctor even took internal phots of my damaged shoulder it was so bad. His answer was no to eds, "You just have crappy tissue". (Isn't that what eds is sir?"
    Just after that report, we lost our health coverage. I went to the local clinic for the un-insured for some help, and the dr. there told my husband and I that eds was the same as fibromyalgia-it does not exist. I was finally diagnosed by a genetist w/ eds, and lost my coverage again.

  2. Barbara,
    Don't blame the doctors. Blame their teachers. We do a horrible ojob of teaching genetics to residents and studnets. I am sorry to hear about the insurance fiasco :(


  3. As a nurse and a mother of a teenager who manifests symptoms of EDS I can sympathize with you. My son falls down all the time b/c his knees just "give out", along with his shoulders. my family doc finally referred us to a doc, I wanted a geneticist but instead they sent us to a rhuematologist who only wants to do another MRI of his knees .. I am so frustrated with docs who do not listen to their patients or parents and I am in the same field.If you think they don't listen to parents or patients it's worse if you are a nurse. Since I have worked for 30 years with docs evidently I'm seen as a "wanna be a doctor" .. senseless ego nonsense. I've heard it said enough times by a doc coming out of a patient's room ... if they know so much why didn't they go to medical school... so I can see it in their eyes and hear it in their condescending words, when they want to go through all this other testing first ... I know an MRI was important in the diagnosis but to repeat them!!! Now he's of to college and I have to wait until next summer before I can get him closer to a correct diagnosis and a doctor that listens ... oh and he has had bilateral cataracts since birth and some tachycardia problems in grade school but I still obviously know nothing ... me, who has been the historian of this kid's medical history for 18 years ... They should let experienced nurses teach some classes to medical students and residents, then maybe some of them would learn some valuable lessons on listening!