05/16/2013 10:30 am ET

Why I Chose Not To Get Tested For BRCA Genes


From a healthcare perspective, Angelina’s Jolie’s case is pretty clearcut, even if her personal decisions were fraught and complex. Her insurance presumably paid for her breast-cancer gene tests because her mother died of ovarian cancer.* When women like Jolie appear to be at higher than usual risk for breast cancer, their risk factors are punched into a mathematical model and out comes a magic number that helps us make health care decisions. A first-degree relative with breast cancer is pretty much a slam-dunk, and most insurance companies will pony up the cost for Myriad’s monopoly-priced diagnostic panel.

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