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A Patient, Bioethicist and Counselor Share their Personal Views

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April 23, 2001 Washington, DC Should women with a family history of breast cancer undergo genetic screening? Will insurance companies pay for the testing and would the results affect a patients insurance coverage? If genetic tests confirm evidence of a defective gene, should patients undergo a mastectomy as a preventive measure? These are several of the emotional, physical and financial dilemmas patients face when deciding whether to undergo genetic testing. They are explored in the lead article in the March/April issue of Womens Health Issues. In the article, BRCA1 Screening in a Woman with Breast Cancer: A Patients Perspective with Commentary, Cynthia Levinson, a mother of two grown daughters, shares her personal struggle with cancer, genetic screening for the "breast cancer" genes and the test results.

The article includes commentary from Mary Mahowald, a bioethicist, and her views on a patients right to undergo or not to undergo genetic testing. Mahowald explores the implications the tests have on a patients relatives and their right to know the results. Ann Walker, a genetic counselor, shares the emotional and interpersonal difficulties patients face when deciding whether or not to be tested. Walker also discusses the reliability and pertinence of genetic testing.

The March/April 2001 issue of Womens Health Issues also includes articles on: a four-country comparison of abortions in adolescence; the improved use of contraceptives, attitudes toward pornography, and sexual harassment among female university students; the correlation between cigarette smoking and job strain of women veterans; the implications domestic violence has on health and community settings; and improving the accuracy of identifying lesbians for telephone surveys about health.

Womens Health Issues is the official publication of The Jacobs Institute of Womens Health, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the knowledge, practice, and understanding of womens health.

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For Immediate Release

For more information contact:
Steve Fitzer
The Jacobs Institute
(202) 863-4989