If you watch or read the news, you probably heard that Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy a few months back. She didn't have breast cancer, but she found out through genetic testing that she carried a gene BRCA1, that increased the likelihood that she would have breast cancer at some point in her life. Here is a link to Jolie's Op-Ed.
If we're lucky, we get to go to the doctor and have our annual exam where we are screened for breast cancer, ovarian cancer and our blood is usually drawn to check our cholesterol or thyroid levels. I'm not going to say I look forward to these exams, but after I go through it, I'm glad I did. It's one less thing to worry about and I feel like I'm being proactive about my health.
But, and there's always a but, I don't ever want to look into the crystal ball of genetic testing. I view it this way, we're all going to die of something. And I personally think it adds a lot of stress to our already stressful lives to know if we have a predisposition to a certain disease or ailment. I think it's better to do the things you know you're supposed to do to keep healthy as long as you can. You know, eat right, exercise, drink lots of water, don't smoke, that kind of thing. Why open up Pandora's Box?
Plus, I don't imagine that insurance companies are going to cover this sort of testing, nor will they foot the bill for a preventative procedure. They don't do much, if any, of that now. So, who gets to do this type of thing? You guessed it, the people that have the money to do so. The uninsured and the poor peeps just have to live and die with the genetic cards they've been dealt.
So what do you think of genetic testing? Do you think it's somewhat frivolous to opt for a double mastectomy when cancer isn't present? I'd love to hear your thoughts.