June 21, 2013
The recent Supreme Court ruling that genes can’t be patented is a major win for women who have a family history of breast cancer. And after Genae Girard’s interview with Infowar’s David Knight, one has to wonder if Angelina Jolie would still have made the same decision to have a double mastectomy if she hadn’t been manipulated by Myriad Genetics.
Girard’s story is one shared by many woman. In 2006, on the advice of her physician, Girard underwent testing for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes to see if she was destined to develop breast and ovarian cancer.
The test, administered only by Myriad Genetics, came back positive and Girard had a decision to make: Should she play Russian Roulette and do nothing on the slim chance that she’d never develop breast cancer, or should she undergo preventative surgery and have both breasts and her ovaries removed?
Angelina Jolie recently faced the same decision and after considering all the ‘facts’ she chose to have the surgery, removing both breasts because, according to Myriad Genetics Corp., there was a very high probability that she would someday develop breast cancer and die.
Thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling, Myriad Genetics no longer holds a patent on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which means that other laboratories may administer the test. The most obvious benefit is that now the cost for the test will drop from the $3,500 that Myriad was charging to a more affordable rate of around $150, making it affordable for more women.
But here’s the hidden benefit that may have allowed Jolie and Girard to choose a different path: Now, women will be able to get a second opinion before they go under the knife.
When Jolie made her announcement, women everywhere were applauding her bravery. Not only was she brave for having the surgery, she was brave for announcing it to the world. But if you watch Girard’s interview you’ll see that she and Jolie had little choice.
First, because of a family history of breast cancer, both Girard and Jolie were strongly advised by their physicians to take the Myriad test, a test that cost $3,500.
To further convince her that the test was necessary, Girard says she was forced to watch a manipulative video that would almost guarantee she’d fork over the $3,500 for Myriad’s test.
“Being in the oncology office, they have you watch a video, it’s required before you actually submit your blood sample, and I didn’t quite like it because it was kind of a bullying tactic. It was very dark and scary, and it was very influential to try and get you to make that decision to take the test. I particularly didn’t like that because some people will respond to that, some people will just be scared when they weren’t even at risk.”
According to Girard, once the results came back positive she asked for a second opinion, but no other lab was allowed to perform the test and Myriad refused to run the test a second time. Girard and Jolie were both forced to make a life-altering, highly-personal decision based on one test and a fear-inducing video that essentially gave them no other options.