NEW YORK, NY – For eons, it seems, we have been treating our bodies as if they were manufactured on an assembly line. “Take two aspirin and call me in the morning,” as the line goes. Although we’ve come a long way from utilizing leeches to treat a disease, our healthcare professionals do not generally treat one body different from another except for weight and allergies. Even though the
intake questionnaire in any hospital or doctor’s office does ask the patient about family medical history, our answers alone leave much to be desired.
Ask yourself this. Wouldn’t it be helpful to know what your particular body’s predisposition is to suffering prostate cancer, ovarian, colorectal, or breast cancer – BEFORE you suffered from the disease? About 40 percent of Americans are diagnosed with cancer over their lifetime. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know if your body was going to react negatively to a drug BEFORE the drug was administered to you? As many as 6 out of every 100 patients suffer from adverse drug effects. Further, wouldn’t it be advantageous to know about these predispositions for your children? It is natural for a parent to want to protect their children in every possible way. It is natural for a parent to want to give their children every possible advantage.
Let’s face it. As much as we may want to argue that we humans are all the same, we are physically different at the molecular level. Each of us has different strengths and immunities, and each of us has different sensitivities and vulnerabilities.
Into the picture steps genetic testing, and this is not nearly as complicated as it may sound. There is now a non-invasive method of finding out if you are susceptible to certain types of cancers. This same test can be used to find out, before the fact, if you would have an adverse reaction to particular drugs. It is not a battery of tests or the dreaded “procedure”. It has actually become as
simple as a swab inside your cheek. It can even be done in the comfort of your own home. And the news gets better. Now, the health insurance industry has decided, based upon its own figures,
that it would be cost effective for insurance companies to pay for this test now rather than take on the cancer or deal with the bad drug reaction as it happens.
All you need do is answer a few simple questions about your family medical history and you may qualify for full coverage of the expense of this testing. I have found www.geneticsproject.com to be particularly informative on the subject and a good way of beginning the process. Despite the fact that this development is based on insurance economics, I, for one, am optimistic that the health care industry is finally recognizing each of our bodies as unique.
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