The news today that Angelina Jolie perform preventive mastectomy to prevent breast cancer shocked me. Not only because she’s such a beautiful actress to publicly announce the news, but also because of the courage she showed when facing a “bad gene”.

She have the same high risk genetic mutant BRCA2 that caused her mother died when she was 56 years old. So she has 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. That’s why she took the preventive step to reduce the risk down to 5%. You should read her co-ed article from NY Times.

You might already be asking the following question by now.

Do I have a bad gene?

This used to be a very hard question to answer and might cost a lot of money. But since many researchers and companies are working on bring the price tag of genetic testing down, you can actually do your own test within $1000. Surprise, huh?

Here are some examples.

  • MinION: The Oxford NanoPore Technologies company (spung off from Oxford University) produces a device called MinION which can connect to your PC with a USB cable and test your gene at home. The target is sub $1000.
  • 23andme: all you have to do is to register in their website, spit in the package they send to you, send it back and then you got your genetic test results. They can even tell your ancestry. All this can be done with $100 (!!!, really?).

If you have some family history of genetic related disease, it is definitely worth it to find out where exactly is the bad gene.

You can find the more information about gene and genetic related diseases from the NIH website:

Do you have experience on this topic? Let us know.

Do You Have a Bad Gene?
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