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WSJ article about BRCA gene mutations

Posted by bell_flower 
WSJ article about BRCA gene mutations
December 28, 2019
If any of you have access to the WSJ, there is an interesting article about women from a particular family who were tested for the BRCA gene mutation and opted to have preventive mastectomies and ovary removal.

The TLDR version: What scientists know about the BRCA gene is evolving. Seven women from the same family used a lab named Myriad to have genetic testing. They had a particular BRCA mutation and they elected to have the preventive procedures. Ten years later and with more data points, Myriad is changing the characterization of this particular mutation from "pathogenic" to "unknown significance."

The article focused the most on a woman who had one child and then elected to have the procedure based on the genetic results. This is what was initially presented to her:


It stated she had up to an 84% risk of breast cancer by age 70, compared with 7.3% in the general population, and up to 27% risk of ovarian cancer by age 70, compared with 0.7% in the general population.

This was her reaction:


One day in September 2015, a month after she got her report, she woke up with intense sadness, finally acknowledging that surgery would mean she could have no more children. She cried all the way to work and sat in her car, unable to go in. She called the principal from the parking lot, crying, and said she couldn’t come to work.

In the article she is quoted as saying the complications from the mastectomy and not being able to have more children "strained" her marriage. (I read stuff like this and I'm dismayed, but not surprised, there are men in the world who conditionally love women for their tits and their ability to bear children. Glad I'm not married to one of those.)

Note: Other genetic companies are not downgrading the risk of this mutation. This woman saw a genetic counselor about the revised results. Given her family history + uncertain status of her mutation, the counselor estimated her lifetime risk of getting breast cancer was 21%, which is about three times more than average. (The article does not state what the risk is for ovarian cancer.)

The woman is quoted that she would have had more children if she had been told this was her true risk level. The entire article read like a lawsuit was coming down the road.

I do have sympathy for these women but if they are going to use for "lost potential childrun" argument, they need to lose, simply because success means other women who truly want these procedures to reduce their risks may not be able to obtain them.

Some of the comments were really ignorant. Yes, genetic science is in its infancy, but many commenters are poo-pooing the surgery altogether because women can be "monitored" for ovarian cancer or breast cancer. There is no reliable test for ovarian cancer. Some strains are quite aggressive and by the time a woman is having symptoms, it's too late. Plus, having breast biopsies every six months is painful and nerve-wracking. Also, some of the numb nuts were saying, she could have had A Son and not passed it on. They obviously don't realize that males with one of the true BRCA variants have a elevated risk for pancreatic cancer and other cancers.
Re: WSJ article about BRCA gene mutations
December 28, 2019
Men can definitely inherit the gene and I think just about every case of male breast cancer is due to a BRCA mutation. I understand it must be difficult to have preventive surgery to remove otherwise healthy organs in order to not get cancer, but the saying about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure comes to mind. I think she made the right choice and it's not like she doesn't already have a kid.

I can see why there might be sexual strain in her marriage after this because the tits are gone and I imagine her sex drive is non-existent after losing her ovaries, but is that all that matters in her relationship? Guy sounds like a giant horse's ass if the only reason he loved her was because she had boobs and fertility.

What's the alternative? Constant testing and monitoring for possible cancer? That shit will get old after a while, and in the event she did wind up with cancer, she'd still have to either get surgery to remove the offending body parts anyway or get chemo and possibly die anyway, leaving her husband without a wife and her child without a mother. What if she had to get chemo while pregnant? You have to wait until the last trimester to do it, and then you get the martyr Moos who choose to not get treatment so they can sluice and then die two weeks later.

I know some folks with this mutation. The mom had it and got breast cancer (she lived), her daughter had it and got breast cancer (also lived), and the granddaughter had the same mutation and developed breast cancer in her early 20s that was fortunately caught in time. Said granddaughter has a daughter and she may need to have a mastectomy at an early age too because she likely inherited the gene.

Women are worth more than their fertility. I can't believe with all the feminism floating around that even women themselves base their entire value as human beings on whether or not they can make babies.
Re: WSJ article about BRCA gene mutations
December 29, 2019
The mother of the woman in the article had breast cancer in her 40's. Just because they haven't identified which gene or mutation it is, doesn't mean that it's not there. If one's cancer is estrogen positive, all the hormone fluctuations associated with whelping can aggravate the condition. The woman in the article may have had a second or third child and died because of that.

The woman in the article is also supplementing her hormones. She can do that because she no longer has breast tissue or ovaries. She would not have been able to do that if she had breast cancer.

I have no ovaries due to a total hysterectomy. I also supplement with bio identical hormones, prescribed by a doctor. I am monitored. It's not perfect but it does help with the hot flashes and bone health.

My mom had a very aggressive form of endometrial cancer and an aunt had ovarian cancer. I do not know if I have the BRCA mutation, but I did have severe endometriosis and PCOS. I was in pain all the time and couldn't find a doctor to take it all out because You Know Why. My mother's oncologist agreed to do it. I am happy knowing I will never have ovarian or uterine cancer. I'll never have to go through radiation like my mom did. I can live my life. I will probably test sometime in the future. Even if I do not have the particular mutation that scientists have identified, I did the right thing for me. My quality of life is 1000 times better. It's too fucking bad I had to fight so hard for a tubal and an eventual hysterectomy. I can tell you, before my tubal ligation, doctors didn't even want to consider a hysterectomy and ovary removal. That's damn sad.

The woman in the article needs to look on the bright side. FFS, adopt if you want more kids. She will likely never get breast or ovarian cancer*. (*If the ovary is resected properly during removal, the chances are practically nil.)
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