Posts tagged Breast cancer
Tuesday, Angelina Jolie, who possesses perhaps the most famous mammary glands on the planet, announced in a New York Times Op-Ed that her breasts have been prophylactically removed because a gene test for BRCA1 came back positive. It’s a well-written, passionate and thoroughly researched article which I strongly recommend you read.
We don’t generally do celebrity news here at Logarchism, but we do discuss the politics and economics of health care. Jolie’s story illustrates some of the challenges facing health care as we move into the Age of Obamacare.
Jolie’s announcement comes as the Supreme Court has heard arguments, and is currently deliberating and preparing a written opinion, in the Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc. case. I summarized the relevant facts in an earlier article.
Jolie is no stranger to controversy, and she (or her publicist) delves into the deep end of medical ethics and public policy with this bold statement:
Breast cancer alone kills some 458,000 people each year, according to the World Health Organization, mainly in low– and middle-income countries. It has got to be a priority to ensure that more women can access gene testing and lifesaving preventive treatment, whatever their means and background, wherever they live. The cost of testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2, at more than $3,000 in the United States, remains an obstacle for many women.
If the Supreme Court decides in favor of Myriad, we can expect this situation to continue. (more…)
This week, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, one of the best-funded, most visible, and most powerful organizations gathering money for breast cancer treatment, research and screening, stepped in a big pile o’ poo when they changed their grant application rules in such a way to rather pointedly exclude Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood is not the Komen Foundation’s biggest problem, though. As you’ll see shortly, they spend their money on feel-good projects, rather than using evidence-based medicine to determine who will be funded. In fact, there are several instances where Komen partnerships have been detrimental to women’s breast health. They have always made their decisions based on politics and appearances, not what’s best for women.
The move to bar Planned Parenthood was in response to anti-abortion groups, who objected to Planned Parenthood’s funding of abortions. The media frenzy exposed something that many in the medical and research community have known for some time: health care is political, and the Susan B. Komen Foundation is heavily staffed with people who identify with conservative politics. Most attributed the current crisis to the hiring of Senior Vice President for Public Policy Karen Handel nine months ago.
Ms. Handel describes herself in her Twitter profile as a “Lifelong Conservative Republican” and former Georgia Secretary of State. She would seem to be well-suited to a role involving crisis management for a large, high-profile national organization. (more…)