Senin, 25 Februari 2008

Fear of Genetic Testing

Genetic testing to predict the future risk of specific genetic diseases could significantly improve the delivery of health care (see the Current Issue on pp. 458-459 of Human Biology 5th ed., entitled “The Promises and Perils of Genetic Testing”).

And yet, it appears that many people are avoiding DNA tests out of fear that the information could be misused. They worry that if their DNA test reveals a strong likelihood that they might develop a costly or life-threatening genetic disease later in life, they will become uninsurable even though they are currently healthy (see “Fear of Insurance Trouble Leads Many to Shun or Hide DNA Tests”. The New York Times, Feb. 24, 2008). Insurance companies deny it, of course. But even if insurance companies aren’t currently engaged in genetic discrimination, the commonly held perception that they could is enough to cause some people to avoid DNA tests.

Would your students take a DNA test to determine their risk of developing breast cancer or prostate cancer if those diseases ran in their family? You might ask them.

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