The genetic dilemma: prevention lags behind science

Isabel Centeno

Guest Blogger – Isabel Centeno, Psycho-oncologist and cancer patient advocate, Monterrey, México.

 

 

I use to work with breast cancer patients and their families and I´ve noticed that although genetic testing becomes gradually more accessible and better known in my country it is not well accepted; not even considered as a means of prevention.

A new generation of men and women are at risk (even though we know only 10% of breast cancers are hereditary) and the information they receive is “examine your breasts yourself!!”.  This seems too late or at least too risky.

Is it a moral issue or an economic one? Or is it something else?

I don´t have the answer but it is a fact that economic issues play an important role in decisions. How many Mexicans could pay for a genetic test? Who has the money to take preventative action even if the outcome is positive against hereditary cancer?

Medical breakthroughs occur faster than changes in medical and public policy. Psychological and economic issues mean that changes in population behaviour take time and many people die in the meantime.

There are many cancer deaths that could have been prevented but weren´t. Even though we work in the health care industry and are trying to inform and support families and patients we cannot push any further to speed up solutions we know are available.

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One thought on “The genetic dilemma: prevention lags behind science

  1. Alicia Seitz

    Genetic testing hasn’t been mainstreamed as of yet, say, as a serum cholesterol test has. Thus, prevention remains key. As a nurse educator, I believe the public needs to be educated on health seeking behaviors, BSE (breast self examination), diagnostic testing, and on reducing stress. For now, these are all we have.

    Reply

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