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Family curse. BBC story on genetic testing for breast cancer.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-14135296?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

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To Test or Not to Test?

The May/June 2011 issue of Alberta Health Service’s Apple magazine includes an article by Dawna Freeman on genetic testing.  It features Tara Johnson-Ouellette’s journey through genetic testing for Huntington disease after her mother’s diagnosis.

Here are a few excerpts:

Genetic testing can reveal if you have one of the 3,000 genes linked to diseases. But the bigger question is would you want to know?

The decision to be tested for a genetic disorder, such as hereditary cancer or Huntington’s disease, is not to be taken lightly, says Deepti Babu, a genetic counsellor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. “Predictive genetic testing is much more than a blood draw.  There are implications that can be far-reaching, and these can have a ripple effect on family members.”

While the decision to test is yours alone, the results can affect your entire family.  “Genetic testing does not just reveal information about an individual.  It reveals information about a whole family,” says Dr. Victoria Seavilleklein, who works at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre as a clinical ethicist for Central Zone of Alberta Health Services. “If an individual were found to be a carrier, that would tell you that at least one of the parents was also either a carrier or actually had the condition, and would have implications for the parents and siblings.”

Read the full article:  Apple magazine To Test or Not To Test  Note that there is a typo near the end of the article:  Tara was not tested for Parkinson’s.  It should read Huntington disease.

Apple magazine website:  http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/apple/