Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Angelina Jolie takes advantage of amazing human progress

Writing in the NYTimes recently, Jolie shared her decision to have a preventative double mascetomy.  The key aspect was access to her specific genetic make-up, which was used to determine outcome probabilities unique to her situation.  Based on the fact that her mother died from ovarian cancer, and that her doctors estimated her chances of breast cancer at 87% and ovarian at 50%, she made the decision to have preventative surgery now. 

It's sad, of course, that she is in this situtation, but it's also a case study in the types of personalized medical information that is becoming more common.  As Reason editor Nick Gillespie notes in his post on Jolie's decision,
Welcome to the future of medicine, in which well-informed patients make decisions that even a few decades ago would have been either impossible to make (due to lack of testing or knowledge) or balked at by the medical establishment (due to reactionary ideas about human nature or bodily integrity). 
Gillespie's short report is interesting and can be found here.