The cloud of breast cancer has loomed over Betsy Miller Landis her entire life. In her earliest memories, she’s playing on the floor of her mother’s hospital room. Two decades later, she lost her mother to a recurrence. Then again at 54, the age when her mother died, Landis’ thoughts returned to the disease, as she worried about apparent irregularities in herself.
New project aims to educate and to enlist thousands of Jewish women in a comprehensive study on genetic factors.
Special To The Jewish Week
Marcia Byalick was 38 years old when her mother died from ovarian cancer. Since then, she has lived with the fear that she and her daughters are at high risk of developing ovarian cancer. When Byalick recently learned of a new study focusing on breast and ovarian cancer among Jewish women, she was eager to participate.
After learning about the benefits of genetic screening from her physician, a pregnant woman decides to schedule an amniocentesis test. Doctors carefully screen her amniotic fluid sample, and they determine that her fetus has an extra 21st chromosome — in other words, the child will be born with Down syndrome. The patient instantly faces an emotional quandary: should she go forward with the pregnancy, or should she have an abortion?
This kind of thorny ethical question was at the center of a forum on genetic disease forum held May 5 at the JCC in Manhattan.
It had big-money marketing written all over it. Every detail in the Soho gallery space was futuristically sleek and designed to impress the New Yorkers who, the company hoped, would be sold on shelling out $2,499 to get their DNA tested for 18 disease predispositions — but only after they enjoyed fresh pomegranate juice or a “Navitini,” a cocktail created for the occasion.
Munching on healthy hors d’hoevres, several dozen people milled among the computer monitors showing Navigenics videos of happy customers.