Planning be Done for Incurable Diseases:589343


Part 1–Write comments suggesting improvements on the draft itself following each paragraph. Use the grading rubric to guide your advice Grading Rubric Exploratory essay

  • It is important in this essay that the writer is exploring not arguing and not presenting a thesis, but instead is responding to what the sources have presented, as well as actually explaining the research process.

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Genetic Testing: Can Planning be Done for Incurable Diseases?

Genetic testing for incurable diseases has become more popular in our modern-day society. Some citizens see it as a great scientific advantage that we can test and possibly predict terminal illnesses. Because the ethics of genetic testing are questioned a lot, it is a topic that is highly debatable in our country. I can see that testing can be helpful in planning situations such as pregnancies and other important life events. However, these tests can show the genetic markers, but cannot predict the severity of the disorder in individuals. This allows for a plethora of worrisome hypothetical situations in someone who is being tested or a parent who is testing their child. As someone who has seen a loved one pass away from an incurable hereditary disease, this topic interested me right away. I can weigh whether I would prefer to know about certain DNA traits which could tell me the probability of getting certain illnesses during my lifetime. It does make me ponder if I would do anything different than my family member that passed, or if there was something more that could have been done for her because of genetic testing.

After reading from “To Test or Not to Test: A Guide to Genetic Screening and Risk,” by Doris Teichler-Zallen,I gained very helpful insight on the questions to consider before having genetic testing done. This book appealed to me because it thoroughly reviewed the advantages and disadvantages of having the testing. Teichler-Zallen suggests asking a few different questions before considering having the test done to see if it is truly beneficial. The first question to ask would be, is there a family history of certain diseases? If there is, this can be helpful when going in for be tested so that the test can screen for the disease that is prevalent in a family by looking for that genetic mutation.The second question would be, is there a clear understanding of testing for susceptibility and the information it can and cannot provide? If there is no family history, then it would not be necessary to test for it. These genetic tests test for susceptibility and given through a range such as, 50-75% higher probability than the public to get breast cancer by the age of 70. Knowing that this information will not provide a definitive answer on exactly when and if a disease will appear is very important. I am hoping that through medical technology advancements, there will be less of a broad spectrum to these results in the near future. If one were to test positive for an illness, it would be helpfulto know that they could either avoid it or prolong the healthy phase of one’s life by avoiding certain toxins and junk food. Also having an organ proactively removed may be a smart choice if a positive test showed a type of cancer such as breast, ovarian, or colon. Teichler-Zallen also claims that choosing a peaceful time during one’s life to have the testing done is favorable. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I do not believe anyone can be prepared to handle the result of being positive for an incurable disease. Having to digest this news, telling family members, then deciding if giving any type of treatment a chance is so much to bear.

Another insightful resource I encountered while researching was “7 Diseases You Can Learn About from a Genetic Test,” by Maureen Salamon. This article explained the different types of diseases which are most recognizable to scientists during test analysis. Some mutations are not yet recognizable so, they cannot be explained to a patient when the mutation appears on a test result. Because of these unknown mutations, I can imagine this kind of result being very unsettling and could be damaging to the psyche. This could make anyone’s mind run wild with unfortunate possibility that could result in illness any way due to stress. Salamon also mentions how much more likely a person is to get a disease depending on the mutations found in an individual’s DNA. She gives breast cancer as one example by stating that over 200,000 women who are not genetically predisposed are diagnosed each year, but women with family history are five times more likely to develop breast cancer. With the odds of women with no genetic ties to this disease getting it, I feel that everyone should be tested for it in hopes of catching this disease earlier. This could be the difference between life and death because if breast cancer is caught in a later stage, it can be terminal. Another serious disease that can be easily identified in genetic testing analysis is Parkinson’s Disease. To this day there is no cure, but there are treatments to ease the symptoms as the disease progresses. Salamon describes that if gene G2019S is mutated that “there is a 28% higher chance of developing PD by the age of 59 and a 74% chance by age 79.” Diseases such as this can degrade the quality of life due to physical and mental limitations. It would be valuable to me to be able to put a plan in place for my family when it came to my assets, medical treatment planning, and my desires if I became completely mentally unstable. I would not want to burden my family due to the extensive care that I may require as a disease such a PD were to advance.

In the last article that I researched called “The Right to Die or the Instinct to Live?” by Ramona Cramer Tucker. She brings in an account of a young girl named, Brittany Maynard, who was terminally ill. Brittany chose to take her own life by taking a handful of pills. Tucker’s point is to show that if this person could receive genetic testing, this may have been a situation that could have been avoided. If not avoided, Brittany could have planned to travel to one of the five states where it is legal to have an assisted suicide. If you have an ailment which you know you will be in a lot of pain, this type of planning can be useful to have in place when the pain of a disease if no longer tolerable. Although assisted suicide may be difficult to get approved by loved ones, when family and friends see how deteriorated the body becomes under the weight of disease it may be easier to accept. Ultimately this becomes the decision of the afflicted individual. Genetic testing has become more convenient in the way that it can be done with an oral swab and then mailed back to a lab. My fear with this type of testing is that people will not see that susceptibility is not a definitive answer to one’s future illness. Tucker quotes Henry Van Dyke, the American poet declaring, “Some people are so afraid to die that they never begin to live.” This quote sums up how many people let their fear take over when it comes to their thoughts on illness and, inevitably, death.

Through my research on this serious topic, I have concluded that it is advantageous to proceed with testing if someone has afamily history of any major illness, including those that could be untreatable. I personally feel encouraged to have diagnostic testing on a regular basis to catch any type of illness early on.  I would not recommend people do this type of testing randomly. The type of diseases in a family should all be considered when testing. People should also mull over what they would do with the results they are given prior to being tested.






Works Cited

Teichler-Zallen, Doris. “To Test or Not to Test: A Guide to Genetic Screening and Risk.” New Brunswick, N.J., Rutgers University Press, 2008.

Salamon, Maureen. “7 Diseases You Can Learn About from a Genetic Test.” Live Science, 17Dec. 2010,

Tucker, Ramona Cramer. “The Right to Die or the Instinct to Live?” U.S. News, 13 Nov. 2014,