Monday, 6 January 2014

Breast Cancer 'Genes' Affect Certain Races More

You remember Angelina Julie's announcement of having gone through double mastectomy based on a gene she is carrying? Genes and breast cancer are now more in the public conscious and awareness. One of the facts about the related genes, 'BRCA1 and BRCA2 is that they can be concentrated in a certain ethnicity or group of people. This post talks about one of these groups and their touchy struggle.

The genes mentioned above are strongly linked to breast cancer and women who carry them have a 50% chance of developing breast cancer. The situation with the actress is that she opted to have a prophylactic mastectomy before she even has the cancer to increase chances of survival. More women are doing just that.

The astonishing fact here though is that some races and groups have a higher tendency to have those genes in the first place. An example is the Jewish women of Ashkenazi descent---from central and Eastern Europe. Israel is a country were half the population is from this origin due to mass immigration from around the world.

Some of the hard choices women who are given this news have to face is whether to have the gene test. Although a testing program is offered to Ashkenazi women in Israel this is still a sensitive topic due to ethical and practical matters.

Women will then have to think of whether to get married early and have children before they think of the mastectomy choice. Or, whether to go directly to the option of having their breasts removed. Another dilemma is the possibility of passing the genes to her daughters and if possible try to prevent that. In Israel women face these questions continuously.

In Israel, besides the breasts, the ovaries are also often removed which immediately puts the woman in menopause.

Some other pressing questions include whether men should also be tested for the gene. And whether, if you are positive, you should have an IVF so that the embryos can be screened. And finally whether to go for breast reconstruction.

So many questions to be faced by a lot of women around the world too.

Mirror, Life Style:

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