SCI260 Introduction To Biochemistry


Discussion: Ethical Concerns in Screening For Genetic Diseases

Genetic screening, which is relatively new and fast-growing, is one example.

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Innumerable possibilities exist for disease prevention, health promotionaEURthe foundations of public and genetic health.

The three main types of genetic testing for public health are predictive, carrier and diagnostic.

Prenatal and newborn screenings are used to screen for current diseases.

Carrier screening is the process of determining if someone carries a particular genetic trait (e.g. type 2 diabetes or breast cancer).

Predictive screening helps determine whether an apparently healthy individual with positive familial history has a genetic mutation which will cause a late-onset disorder (e.g. Huntington’s disease).

As genetic screening for population-related conditions expands, the concern is growing that such screening may have negative psychological effects and be discriminated by third parties like insurers or employers.

Additionally, ethical concerns surround individual autonomy, privacy, confidentiality and privacy.

The Learning Recourses will be used to guide you through this discussion. You can also choose an article from the Walden Library on a genetic condition.

The disease you choose can be genetic, or one that may have a genetic component.

Take into account the ethical issues involved in screening for genetic diseases.

With these thoughts in my mind:

Please give a summary of the article. Also, please describe the genetic epidemiology of your chosen disease.

Explain one ethical question related to screening.

Argument for or against mandatory screening for this illness for the public good.

Your position can be supported using scholarly sources.

Answer to Question: SCI260 Introduction To Biochemistry


Genetic testing can be used to diagnose any defect or disease. It is a new type of technology.

Genetic testing is an extremely useful tool in diagnosing patients. It can also be used as a personal diagnostic tool.

Genetic testing is a great way to detect complex diseases like colon cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and other forms of cancer at an early stage (Harper, 2010).

This essay presents a discussion about the most significant ethical issue in genetic test for breast carcinoma. Patients are asked to keep their personal information confidentially regarding genetic testing.

This essay contains a summary of an article on the same topic, as well as rationale supporting mandatory breast-cancer genetic screening.

Genetic Epidemiology For Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is second-most common form of cancer in females after skin carcinoma.

The worldwide rate of breast cancer deaths among women was 13.7% in 2008

Modern lifestyles have led to rapid increases in breast cancer death rates since 1970 (Davis (2010)).


The 2013 study by Butow et. al.

The United States is home to the highest annual breast-cancer risk: 128.7 in 1 lakh Whites, 111.6 in 1 lakh African Americans.

Peterson et.

(2012) Breast Cancer remains one of America’s most-feared diseases. This is due to its complex form.

Because genetic testing for breast-cancer is such a risk to your health, it poses serious ethical problems.

Goldenberg & Sharp (2012) surveyed 160 families of breast cancer probands to assess their notification status and family history.

There were 376 respondents, of which 71% were either first or second cousins and 82% blood relatives.

24% of participants didn’t know about or were not informed about their family history. The remaining 76% were blood relations.

This is an indication that patient informed decision or confidentiality to share information can be very sensitive in this disease.Further, Brierley et al.

Brierley et. al. (2012) looked at the potential impact of cost, confidentiality, discrimination and price on genetic testing.

According to this study that involved 184 participants, 106 people were tested while 78 were denied. The reason for cost, confidentiality, and discrimination was cited as the reason.

According to Butow

The study of Butow et. al. (2013) found that 238 people were first-degree relatives of a breast cancer patient. They were asked their opinions on confidentiality and autonomy in breast tumor genetic testing.

Results showed that 87% to 87% of women deny the disclosures of their genetic results. 56-57% want informed consent before sharing any information with their families. 98% favor mandatory and voluntary genetic testing.

This shows that genetic testing for breast cancer is of public importance. It also raises ethical questions.

The Article Summary in a Brief Summary

This article discusses the legal and ethical aspects of genetic testing for ovarian (breast) and colon cancer.

These cancers have an almost equal level of confidentiality and privacy in a woman’s daily life.

This article examines the ethical conflict of patient confidentiality and professional duty to disclose information for others’ welfare.

The articles cover the basics of disclosure, duties concerning disclosure of genetic susceptibility, confidentiality, liabilities, genetic counselling, screening new-borns, and prenatal diagnosis.

Additional information is provided about public perceptions regarding genetic discrimination, public screening, and ethical concerns related to breast-cancer.

Research by the author in this article shows that genetic testing of breast cancer is an ethical concern for feminists.

Traditional beliefs and the professional authority of women determine their attitudes towards these new technologies and developments in society.

Women are still victims of the traditional feminist view that women should be aware of the healthcare requirements and not reveal their personal data.

There are some attempts to break the traditional gendered perceptions by providing awareness and alertness to women.

Lastly, article states that there are ethical dilemmas and conflicts concerning genetic testing susceptibility for cancer. This will remain a feminist conversation. It is therefore necessary to promote healthcare ethics with feminist methods in order to give women their rights to autonomy and confidentiality.

Genetic Screening of Breast Cancer Genetic Screening: An ethical issue

Because of security, privacy, and gender equality, patient confidentiality has always been a key ethical issue in genetic testing for breast cancer.

Research has shown that the disclosure of breast-cancer screening information is an ethically important issue, and that it requires legal obligations to perform (Harper 2010).


Butow et. al. (2013) found that the traditional notification of this situation to family members who have a history of breast-cancer is not done.

It has caused confidentiality problems for modern practices such as genetic screening.

53% of 1251 medical professionals who performed genetic screening of breast Cancer found that their patients needed confidentiality.Peterson et al.

Peterson and colleagues (2012) discovered that all healthcare professionals in America are legally bound to protect patient privacy and not reveal it without the consent of the patient.

In the context of genetic screening confidentiality breaches are legal offenses.

This means that even if the patient is at high-risk of developing a similar illness, the physician can’t disclose any information. Clayton et al.

(2014) reported that breast, colon and Ovarian cancers are most likely to affect children, siblings and close relatives.

But, confidentiality law does not require that a physician warn of this risk. This indicates that patient confidentiality is the first priority.

In the event that the physician becomes aware of a patient who may infect their spouse, they are legally required to inform them.

Uncertainty is a moral issue for genetic screening for breast-cancer.

Justification For Mandatory Breast Cancer Genetic Screening

It should be compulsory for all women to undergo genetic screening for breast carcinoma.

Current methods such as genetic screening offer a non-invasive way to ensure safety and existence of risk for the foetus.

Dancey et. al.

(2012) Mandatory genetic screening will assist in timely counselling, and decrease the risk to vulnerable death. Clayton et al.

(2014) argue that mandatory screening for breast-cancer would result in a significant improvement in women’s health and political stability.

These are the reasons why genetic screening should be compulsory for women’s welfare.


According to this study confidentiality remains an important ethical issue in the context of genetic screening for a disease such as breast cancer.

This is due to traditional beliefs, privacy, protection of vulnerable and other ethical issues.

The genetic screening process to diagnose breast cancer can still be a positive step towards better women’s health. It will also help avoid the possibility of deadly diseases.

Refer toDavis, D. S. (2010).

Genetic dilemmas: Reproductive technology and parental choices. And how they impact children’s lives.

Oxford University Press.Harper, P. S. (2010).

Practical Genetic Counselling 7th Edition.

CRC Press.Brierley, K. L., Blouch, E., Cogswell, W., Homer, J. P., Pencarinha, D., Stanislaw, C. L., & Matloff, E. T. (2012).

Adverse events in the genetic testing of cancer: legal, moral, and financial consequences.

The Cancer Journal, 18(4) 303-309.Butow, P. N., Lobb, E. A., Meiser, B., Barratt, A., & Tucker, K. M. (2013).

Psychological outcomes after counselling and genetic testing in breast cancer. A systematic review.

Medical Journal of Australia. 178(2), 7-81.

Clayton, E. W. and McCullough L. B. and Biesecker L. G. Joffe S. Ross L. F. Wolf S. M. for the Clinical Sequencing Exploratory (CSER), Consortium Pediatrics Working Group. (2014).

This article addresses the ethical problems in genetic testing, and sequencing of children.

The American Journal of Bioethics. 14, 3, 3-9.Dancey, J. E., Bedard, P. L., Onetto, N., & Hudson, T. J. (2012).

Genetic basis for cancer treatment decisions. Cell, 148(3), 409-420.Dickens, B. M., Pei, N., & Taylor, K. M. (2012).

Legal and ethical concerns in genetic counseling and testing for susceptibility.

Canadian Medical Association Journal, 54(6), 813.Goldenberg, A. J., & Sharp, R. R. (2012).

The ethical and programmatic risks of genomic newborn screening. Jama, 307(5), 461-462.Peterson, E. A., Milliron, K. J., Lewis, K. E., Goold, S. D., & Merajver, S. D. (2012).

Health insurance and discrimination concerns. BRCA1/2 testing in a clinic population.

Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention biomarkers, 11(1): 79-87.

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