Sunday, April 15, 2012

Controversy in prenatal testing for breast cancer

Prenatal testing for mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes (genes linked to breast and ovarian cancers) has become a controversial issue in the medical realm. I came across an article in the Journal of Medical Genetics that addresses this issue in several situations. The article, Clinical geneticists' attitudes and practice towards testing for breast cancer susceptibility genes, also provides responses to these situations from all clinical centers in the UK.

After reading this article, do you think prenatal genetic testing for mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 should be conducted? Do you think it should be circumstantial - for example, should testing only be conducted if there is a family history for breast or ovarian cancer? Lastly, if you believe that prenatal genetic testing should be conducted, do you think that a positive result (there is a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene) is a valid reason to have an abortion?