Denise Goldberg's blog

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Puzzles of genes

How should I look at this puzzle? From the outside looking in, or from the inside looking out? Sometimes it is easier to look at things from the outside looking in - but perhaps that is really a way of ignoring a potential issue.

When a doctor recommended that I go for genetic counseling because of what appears to be a strong family history of colon cancer, I immediately accepted his suggestion. Why? Because knowing that I do or do not have a propensity for developing the disease gives me the option of scheduling tests (to hopefully identify anomalies before they become problems) on a more (or less) frequent basis. I suppose I could stick my head in the sand and pretend that the possibility of developing this nasty disease doesn't exist, but that doesn't feel right to me.

Friday afternoon I think I was on the inside looking out - even though at times during my conversations with the genetic counselor and the doc, it almost seemed as if I was standing on the outside looking in. There were questions to be answered, a profile to be built. There are genes to be tested, but unfortunately only some of the gene mutations that cause colon cancer can currently be identified. I suppose it's somewhat amazing that tests exist to identify even some of the bad genes. Some are better than none, right? And I found it interesting that the recommendations were to run the initial tests on the family member that contracted cancer the earliest (in terms of age). Apparently it's not as simple as testing the curious - as in testing me.

For now, it's a bit of a waiting game.

Puzzles abound, of genes, and of life...

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