Supreme Court

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled against Myriad Genetics who had held the patent on the BRCA genes.  The ruling indicated that the gene sequences exist naturally and are therefore unable to be patented.  The predicted effect is that the genetic testing for these genes will now become more available and affordable for the general public.
I think this is great news.  As always, I say the more knowledge people have, the better.  The more you know, the more you can do with that information to ameliorate quality of life and/or longevity.  Hopefully, this will also open the doors for other gene sequences to be discovered and tested for to potentially eradicate other risks.  It’s my personal hope that with this gene, in particular, there will be significant progress made in the field of genetic modification by multiple institutions.  Putting the minds of many to good use in this effort, instead of simply the minds at Myriad.
Yes, this is entirely selfish.  I don’t want my kids to have to go through all of these surgeries to mitigate their risks. In 20 years time, they will have to face the decision of whether or not to be tested (I certainly hope they will) and then whether or not they want to undergo the same procedures I have (I hope they don’t even have to considerate it).  It is my wish that when they cross that bridge, there are other less-invasive options to implement in order to protect oneself from this unfortunate genetic mutation.  It’s not that I think having had the double mastectomy was all that awful.  There are so many things in life that are much harder to face (even writing that makes me feel kind of stupid, because this is nothing compared to so many other afflictions or adversities).  But as I watch them, carefree, playing in the backyard right now, I see what my mom has been saying to me.  It’s hard to imagine watching your child go through several surgeries, no matter what their age.
In regards to the Supreme Court ruling and the future of genetic testing for breast cancer genes, I wonder how it will play out in terms of quality control and/or consistency.  Can an individual be tested by every company offering the genetic test?  Will they all report the same results?  Will they all have the credibility to have their results recognized by doctors and insurance companies as the results from Myriad are considered now?  Can someone request a comprehensive testing and receive a report from many different companies all with various risk rates similar to getting your credit checked?
It’s an odd concept to think of.  You apply for a loan from a bank and they get the standard credit report: a different, but similar, score from each of the three recognized and reputable companies.  Will insurance companies now require the same from patients who want their preventative double mastectomies to be covered?  I wonder what all of the companies would report for my genetic test?  I’m conflicted.  Do I want one of them to report that this has all been a case of false-positive?  If two out of three other companies report that I’m actually negative for the BRCA gene, how will I feel?  I’ve done this all for naught?  Or just grateful that maybe now my kids don’t have to face this after all?  Definitely the latter (and I still get to keep the new perky boobs, so whatever).

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