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The DNA Age: Cancer Free at 33, but Weighing a Mastectomy
NY Times ^ | 9/20/07 | Amy Harmon

Posted on 09/20/2007 10:34:02 AM PDT by qam1

Her latest mammogram was clean. But Deborah Lindner, 33, was tired of constantly looking for the lump.

Ever since a DNA test had revealed her unusually high chance of developing breast cancer, Ms. Lindner had agonized over whether to have a mastectomy, a procedure that would reduce her risk by 90 percent.

She had stared at herself in the mirror, imagining the loss of her familiar shape. She had wondered, unable to ask, how the man she had just started dating would feel about breasts that were surgically reconstructed, incapable of feeling his touch or nursing his children.

But she was sure that her own mother, who had had chemotherapy and a mastectomy after a bout with the cancer that had ravaged generations of her family, would agree it was necessary.

“It could be growing inside of me right now,” she told her mother on the phone in February, pacing in her living room here. “We could find it any time.”

Waiting for an endorsement, she added, “I could schedule the surgery before the summer.”

But no approval came.

“Oh, sweetheart,” her mother said. “Let’s not rush into this.”

Joan Lindner, 63, is a cancer survivor. Her daughter, by contrast, is one of a growing number of young women who call themselves previvors because they have learned early that they are genetically prone to breast cancer, and have the chance to act before it strikes.

As they seek to avoid the potentially lethal consequences of a mutant gene, many of them turn to relatives who share its burden. But at a moment when a genetic test has made family ties even more tangible, they are often at their most strained.........

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News
KEYWORDS: dnatesting; genx
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1 posted on 09/20/2007 10:34:07 AM PDT by qam1
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To: qam1

Brain cancer is a possibility as well. Remove the head.


2 posted on 09/20/2007 10:38:16 AM PDT by Greg F (Duncan Hunter is a good man.)
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To: qam1

Previvors = women with too much time on their hands....


3 posted on 09/20/2007 10:38:38 AM PDT by NRA1995 (Mr. President and Congress: This is OUR country and don't you forget it!)
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To: qam1
Man, this is silly. People have themselves so worked in a lather that they would seriously consider mutilating themselves with little reason? I mean I have family members that have died. Everyone I know has either died or is going to die! Should I kill myself now because I know with certainty what is in store for me?

Sometimes you just need to get a grip and stop listening to the scaremongers!

4 posted on 09/20/2007 10:38:48 AM PDT by Obadiah
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To: Greg F
Brain cancer is a possibility as well. Remove the head.

Won't make any difference, she's already brain-dead.

5 posted on 09/20/2007 10:40:14 AM PDT by NRA1995 (Mr. President and Congress: This is OUR country and don't you forget it!)
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To: Obadiah

No kidding. My uncle died of a heart attack and my cousin of lung cancer. If I have those removed preventably . . .


6 posted on 09/20/2007 10:41:21 AM PDT by RightWhale (Snow above 2000', oil above 82: unexplained)
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To: qam1

There’s no testicular cancer in my family.


7 posted on 09/20/2007 10:42:11 AM PDT by elephantlips
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To: qam1
I believe it was Frederick the Great who encouraged his men by shouting: "Fools! Do you think you will live forever??"

People should exercise, and eat well, and not take undue risks. But having this sort of preventative surgery is madness. In the end, something will get you. Make some peace with that and stop worrying.

8 posted on 09/20/2007 10:42:36 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (The broken wall, the burning roof and tower. And Agamemnon dead.)
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To: elephantlips
There’s no testicular cancer in my family.

Ditto. Mega ditto! LOL.

9 posted on 09/20/2007 10:43:57 AM PDT by Greg F (Duncan Hunter is a good man.)
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To: qam1

This woman’s faith in the “infallible” judgment of the medical community is amazing, and not in a good way.


10 posted on 09/20/2007 10:45:18 AM PDT by Hazwaste (Now with added lemony freshness!)
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To: elephantlips

lucky for you


11 posted on 09/20/2007 10:47:14 AM PDT by NonValueAdded (Fred Dalton Thompson for President)
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To: NonValueAdded

For the man she just started dating.

“WARNING WILL ROBINSON! BRAIN DAMAGE! RUN AWAY!”


12 posted on 09/20/2007 10:50:14 AM PDT by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: qam1; ItsOurTimeNow; PresbyRev; Fraulein; StoneColdGOP; Clemenza; m18436572; InShanghai; xrp; ...
Xer Ping

Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social (and sometimes nostalgic) aspects that directly effects Generation Reagan / Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.

Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details and previous articles.

13 posted on 09/20/2007 10:52:27 AM PDT by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
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To: qam1

She should go for the breast enlargements instead. Go out with a bang.


14 posted on 09/20/2007 10:55:56 AM PDT by George W. Bush (Apres moi, le deluge.)
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To: massgopguy

yeah, seriously!


15 posted on 09/20/2007 10:57:35 AM PDT by NonValueAdded (Fred Dalton Thompson for President)
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To: qam1

I firmly believe that in many cases cancers are triggered by worry and self-imposed stress. Like many Americans, this woman’s mind is going to be the cause of her own disease.


16 posted on 09/20/2007 10:58:25 AM PDT by Mr. Jeeves ("Wise men don't need to debate; men who need to debate are not wise." -- Tao Te Ching)
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To: qam1

Ridiculous. I’m “at risk” for a heart attack or stroke. (family history) I think I’ll have a cardiectomy and a cerebrectomy .... just as a smart preventative measure.


17 posted on 09/20/2007 10:59:38 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

Being at risk for something based on your family history that you cannot surgically fix at the moment is very different from having the BrCa genes. The odds are as high as 80-90% that a person with one of the BrCa genes will get breast cancer. Breast cancer is difficult to detect in a young woman, so an annual screening mammogram may not catch it in time. I haven’t been tested for the gene but my mother, grandmother, great aunt, 4 of my mother’s first cousins and 1 of her cousin’s daughters has had breast cancer. My doctor recommended I explore genetic testing and consider preventative double mastectomy. I haven’t done it for two reasons. If I test positive, I will likely never be able to get individual medical insurance again. Also, everyone in my family has survived breast cancer. I live everyday with the knowledge I am probably a ticking time bomb and my procrastination could turn out to be fatal.


18 posted on 09/20/2007 11:46:07 AM PDT by OrangeDaisy
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To: qam1

I know someone who has done this. Judging from what I know of this person, I think there is a lot more going on psychologically than fear of breast cancer.


19 posted on 09/20/2007 11:47:30 AM PDT by Lorianne
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To: qam1
There are a lot of comments on this thread made in jest, I realize, but the topic is serious. A women carrying a BRCA mutation can have a lifetime risk of developing breast cancer approaching 85-90%.

Faced with those odds, virtually removing the risk by having prophylactic mastectomies isn't really such a ridiculous choice, is it?

20 posted on 09/20/2007 11:49:33 AM PDT by Texas dog
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To: OrangeDaisy
You miss my point. My example (although true) is also a bit silly ...

But one way or another, of whatever cause, we're not getting out of here alive.

Staving off one cause of death simply means that something else will catch up with you.

21 posted on 09/20/2007 11:53:44 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: OrangeDaisy

Can’t you pay for the genetic testing out of pocket?


22 posted on 09/20/2007 12:07:52 PM PDT by oblomov
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To: Texas dog
Faced with those odds (85-90% of getting breast cancer), virtually removing the risk by having prophylactic mastectomies isn't really such a ridiculous choice, is it?

And if you develop a cancer elsewhere in your body, what good have you done for yourself? Do you also avoid driving because you might be in a car accident?

23 posted on 09/20/2007 12:08:10 PM PDT by NRA1995 (Mr. President and Congress: This is OUR country and don't you forget it!)
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To: OrangeDaisy

I worry about the same thing. Both my mom and her only sister had early mastectomies, and on the other side my grandmother and both her sisters died of breast ca.

But there are just certain things you shouldn’t get tested for because of the legal ramifications. For instance, the doctor wanted to check my son for sleep apnea. But do you know that certain states have talked about limiting the driver’s licenses of anyone with such a diagnosis?

And just think of Hillary computerizing everyone’s medical records....


24 posted on 09/20/2007 12:19:40 PM PDT by I still care ("Remember... for it is the doom of men that they forget" - Merlin, from Excalibur)
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To: ArrogantBustard

You know what Rush says.

Carrots kill you. He can prove it. Everyone he knows that ever ate carrots is either dead or going to die.... LOL.


25 posted on 09/20/2007 12:21:14 PM PDT by I still care ("Remember... for it is the doom of men that they forget" - Merlin, from Excalibur)
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To: oblomov
Can’t you pay for the genetic testing out of pocket?

YOu can if you can afford to pay $2400.

26 posted on 09/20/2007 12:22:14 PM PDT by SC DOC
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To: ArrogantBustard

but I think you miss her point

Do you want to take the 90% risk that you will die a cancer ridden, in extreme pain, overly medicated shell of your former self....

OR die from something else that is hopefully less torturous and lengthy (e.g. splattered by a Mac Truck)?

Everyone dies but if you can take precautions to prevent what you can, why wouldn’t you?


27 posted on 09/20/2007 12:28:27 PM PDT by PissAndVinegar
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To: NRA1995
>>>Faced with those odds (85-90% of getting breast cancer), virtually removing the risk by having prophylactic mastectomies isn't really such a ridiculous choice, is it?

And if you develop a cancer elsewhere in your body, what good have you done for yourself? Do you also avoid driving because you might be in a car accident?

Well golly, if I knew that I had an 85-90% chance of getting into a fatal or near fatal car accident if I were behind the wheel, darn right I'd avoid driving!

28 posted on 09/20/2007 12:34:04 PM PDT by kalt
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To: I still care

Please educate your self on sleep apnea, I have friends with it and it’s no joke. If it’s a possibility, I’d suggest getting him checked.

http://www.sleepapnea.org/

While you think you may be protecting him, enabling him to get a license when of age....if he develops severe apnea,well getting him a drivers license will be the last of your concerns.


29 posted on 09/20/2007 12:34:55 PM PDT by PissAndVinegar
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To: I still care

If your son does have sleep apnea, it can severely limit his life because he’s always tired, and eventually it could kill him. I wouldn’t fool around with it.


30 posted on 09/20/2007 12:41:00 PM PDT by gracesdad
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To: qam1
She's going to have a hard time getting insurance. Talk about your double-edge swords, this new ability to see into one's possible future...
31 posted on 09/20/2007 12:43:20 PM PDT by Mamzelle
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To: I still care

And as the earlier poster said, driving with untreated sleep apnea just isn’t a wise idea.


32 posted on 09/20/2007 12:43:48 PM PDT by gracesdad
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To: OrangeDaisy
re: If I test positive, I will likely never be able to get individual medical insurance again)))

Yup. I'd buy a couple of extra mams a year instead on your own dime and not mention it to your insurance. Breast cancer gets more treatable every year.

33 posted on 09/20/2007 12:49:05 PM PDT by Mamzelle
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To: qam1

Having a mastectomy is this instance is ridiculous, How does she know it will not appear elsewhere?

Enjoy your life, get checked out once a year, and realize life isn’t forever.

I have a brother in law whose father died of heart disease at 33, he has lived most of his life fearing his fate. He has feared it until age 60. He is still kicking, but has had a bout with prostate cancer.

When he got to thinking about it, he always thought heart attack. His heart was fine, but he didn’t think much about prostate cancer.


34 posted on 09/20/2007 12:57:17 PM PDT by dforest (Duncan Hunter is the best hope we have on both fronts.)
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To: gracesdad

I’m quite disappointed in the responses here. I’m a 14 year breast cancer survivor but many women I know are not so lucky. It is a horribly painful death and slow. The cancer can move to the lungs, bones etc. If this woman could stop the risk of breast cancer by doing this then more power to her. If the boyfriend couldn’t take it then he’s not worth having around.


35 posted on 09/20/2007 1:00:23 PM PDT by tx_militarymom
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To: NRA1995
Do you also avoid driving because you might be in a car accident?

People with an 85-90% chance of being in a serious car accident should avoid driving.

36 posted on 09/20/2007 1:20:28 PM PDT by wideminded
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To: qam1

I wish probability was used instead of something as imprecise as a percentage.
What does it mean if a weatherman forecasts a 50% chance rain?


37 posted on 09/20/2007 1:32:10 PM PDT by em2vn
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To: NRA1995
"And if you develop a cancer elsewhere in your body, what good have you done for yourself? Do you also avoid driving because you might be in a car accident? "

You're facing a crazed proven killer invading your house. You've got an effective weapon, trained on his center of mass. He starts to turn towards you, and begins to raise his pistol towards you. Your finger tightens on your trigger...

Do you throw your weapon away, saying, "Oh, well; somebody else would probably shoot me some other time, anyway?"

38 posted on 09/20/2007 1:35:11 PM PDT by Texas dog
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To: kalt
Well golly, if I knew that I had an 85-90% chance of getting into a fatal or near fatal car accident if I were behind the wheel, darn right I'd avoid driving!

Interestingly there is already a genetic test for this, if they find that you have 2 X-Chromosomes it is highly recommended that you do not drive.

39 posted on 09/20/2007 1:36:27 PM PDT by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
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To: qam1

I think breast cancer is one that is heavily related to glucose and insulin levels. If I were this woman I’d be on a ketogenic diet permanently.


40 posted on 09/20/2007 1:44:38 PM PDT by Varda
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To: SC DOC

>>YOu can if you can afford to pay $2400.

That’s better than not being able to be insured in the future.


41 posted on 09/20/2007 2:35:40 PM PDT by oblomov
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To: ArrogantBustard

I watched my mother die a horific death at the age of 56 from breast cancer.

Yes, life is a one way ride to the grave but cancer is a bad way to go.

People get their colons remove because of either familial polyposis or ulcerative colitis to stave off the eventual development of colon cancer. Undescended testical are removed routinely because of the very high risk of testicular cancer. This is no different.

She is making a decission based on risk versus benefit. Sounds rational to me, I’m amazed at the response to this article.

She is considering a condition that may lead to a prolonged, painful death versus some cosmetic issues and the chance to see grandchildren get married.


42 posted on 09/20/2007 2:50:35 PM PDT by dangerdoc (dangerdoc (not actually dangerous any more))
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To: em2vn

Uhhh, probability is measured as a percentage.


43 posted on 09/20/2007 2:55:06 PM PDT by dangerdoc (dangerdoc (not actually dangerous any more))
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To: dangerdoc

Uhhh, no.


44 posted on 09/20/2007 3:20:07 PM PDT by em2vn
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To: dangerdoc

Some of these reactions are common for those who have not educated themselves on this topic. Some of these reactions are callous and show the character of the poster, ignorance being no excuse.

For those that prefer to educate themselves instead of make fun of other people in difficult situations:

The cancer that this gene causes is typically malignant, typically grade three and the women die of either bone or brain cancer. Who would not do something to prevent that from happening if they were given the option? Choose one:

(1) Waiting for a cancer that is more likely than not going to happen, then undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, and still end up dying a painful awful death and not living to see their children grow up, their grandchildren be born, not living anymore at all, you know, die?

(2) Have a surgery that would more likely than not prevent all of the above even if it means giving up what appears to be a ‘perfectly healthy’ body part.

Appearances can be deceiving. It is the breast tissue that is the danger. It is a fast duplicating tissue and with each replication, there are some errors. BRCA1 helps correct those errors. We all have those errors, but our BRCA1 gene fixes them for us. These women have one faulty BRCA1 gene and one working BRCA1 gene that keeps them going. But as time goes on, that gene goes bad too. Then the error in replication is not corrected and a tumor starts growing and it starts growing FAST. Then, for anyone that knows, breast cancer is never really cured, it is only ever kept at bay. Then, it is a matter of living with cancer every day until eventually it catches up with you and you die that painful awful death anyway.

What if you could have prevented the cancer in the first place? You would have. You would have given your right arm, you would have given almost anything.

Think of how it would feel to live, knowing that someone out there wanted to kill you and would if ever given the chance. You never knew when, your never knew where. Imagine the relief that you would feel if you read in the paper one day that that person had recently died. That’s the relief that these women get. It’s a difficult personal choice and I question the true heart of the posters that have had their fun questioning the sanity of the woman in this article and hope that a bit of information has been the remedy.


45 posted on 09/20/2007 3:37:54 PM PDT by just mimi
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To: em2vn

Do you care to expand on that response.

I’d say there is a 50% probability, you responded without thinking, a 25% probability that you are just being pissy, a 10% probability that you just don’t know, and a 5% probability that we are talking about different things.

What are the odds of that.


46 posted on 09/20/2007 5:33:29 PM PDT by dangerdoc (dangerdoc (not actually dangerous any more))
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To: Texas dog

Nice straw man!


47 posted on 09/20/2007 5:39:33 PM PDT by NRA1995 (Mr. President and Congress: This is OUR country and don't you forget it!)
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To: Greg F
Brain cancer is a possibility as well. Remove the head.

I don't make light of anybody's concern over cancer and find your comment disgusting.

48 posted on 09/20/2007 5:47:10 PM PDT by Hot Tabasco (I could be Agent "HT")
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To: Hot Tabasco

Not trying to be callous, but removing body parts just because they might develop cancer is insane.


49 posted on 09/20/2007 6:09:54 PM PDT by Greg F (Duncan Hunter is a good man.)
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To: ArrogantBustard
Staving off one cause of death simply means that something else will catch up with you.

Sure, but I think it is easier to live with some uncertain something which you don't know if you can prevent at all, and KNOWING that it is a near certainty that you will get breast cancer and could possibly avoid it.

50 posted on 09/20/2007 6:10:46 PM PDT by Dianna
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