If you’ve been reading along with our KELOLAND Living Book Club pick this month, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”, you’ve found yourself thrust into a fascinating science biography and the sometimes confusing world of medical research and biomedical ethics. I know it certainly got me thinking alot about how a devoted Black mother of 5 unknowingly cointributed to historic discoveries in genetics, the treatment and prevention of disease and the unraveling of the human genome.

And that got me wondering about the differences between Genetics and Genomics. The terms sound alike, and people often use them interchangably. Yet, there are some important distinctions between the two and understanding those differences may help you make some important decisions about your health.

Dr. Casey Williams, the Chief Scientific Officer and Exective Director of Cancer Research at Avera Health, joined us to talk about the difference between genetics and genomics and the future of genomic medicine.

Understanding more about diseases which are caused by a single gene using genetics and complex diseases caused by multiple genes and environmental factors using genomics can lead to earlier diagnoses, interventions, and targeted treatments for illnesses such as cancer. You can call the Avera Cancer Institute toll-free. 24/7 with your cancer-related questions or concerns by call 888-422-1410. You can also find information online at avera.org/cancer-care.

The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks