Genetic Testing: Is It Better Not To Know? : Consider This from NPR Sasa Woodruff loves food—she's been accused of having far too many cookbooks. But in 2019, a phone call from an unknown caller changed her relationship to eating.

A genetic counselor called to tell her that she had a rare genetic mutation which could lead to a lethal form of stomach cancer.

The only way to prevent that cancer was to get her stomach surgically removed.

While she's now grateful for the information that genetic testing gave her, Woodruff's story raises questions about what kind of information patients should have and how they can use it.

Professor of law and philosophy at Duke University, Nita Farahany and professor of law and biosciences at Stanford University, Hank Greely discuss the implications of growing access to genetic testing and how to weigh health decisions.

In participating regions, you'll also hear a local news segment to help you make sense of what's going on in your community. Email us at considerthis@npr.org.

See Consider This from NPR sponsors and promo codes.

Genetic Testing: Is It Better Not To Know?

Genetic Testing: Is It Better Not To Know?

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A food lover faces an unimaginable choice: Give up her stomach or risk a fatal cancer. Meredith Miotke/NPR hide caption

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Meredith Miotke/NPR

A food lover faces an unimaginable choice: Give up her stomach or risk a fatal cancer.

Meredith Miotke/NPR

Sasa Woodruff loves food—she's been accused of having far too many cookbooks. But in 2019, a phone call from an unknown caller changed her relationship to food.

A genetic counselor had called to tell her that despite testing negative for two dangerous genetic mutations that were prevalent in her family, she had a a different, rare mutation called CDH1 which could lead to a lethal form of stomach cancer.

The only way to prevent that cancer was to get her stomach surgically removed.

Woodruff spent years investigating the CDH1 gene before deciding to ultimately get a gastrectomy.

While she's now grateful for the information genetic testing gave her, Woodruff's story raises questions about what kind of information patients should have and what they can

Professor of law and philosophy at Duke University, Nita Farahany and professor of law and biosciences at Stanford University, Hank Greely discuss the implications of growing access to genetic testing and how to weigh the decisions that resulting new information can present.

Sasa Woodruff also reported on her decision to get a gastrectomy before her surgery last year. You can read that story here.

In participating regions, you'll also hear a local news segment to help you make sense of what's going on in your community.

Email us at considerthis@npr.org.

See Consider This from NPR sponsors and promo codes.

This episode was produced by Jonaki Mehta and Brianna Scott. It was edited by Sami Yenigun and Ashley Brown. Our executive producer is Cara Tallo.