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[IP] testing for chronic and other dehabilitating (sp?) diseases...

so i know this is rather off-topic, but i thought someone here may have
thoughts that they could share with me....  please respond to me
privately, and not the list...  if you are interested in this thread, let
me know, and i'll be happy to forward any responses that i get, which are
not confidential....

my boyfriend's family has  many types of cancer...  his mother and his
aunt have both had double mastectomies from breast cancer...  his father
passed away last year from a sarcoma that was un-diagnosed until it had
mataticized (sp?) in his liver and pancreas...  his grandfathers both died
of various cancers, and now a particular type of thyroid cancer has been
diagnosed in one of his (biologically related) cousin's families...

there is a test which can determine if one is genetically predisposed to
this type of thyroid cancer...  it is a simple blood test and reportedly
it accurately screens about 85% of the people who take it....  (i.e. it
appears that about 85% of the people who get negative results never
develop this type of cancer...  the number of false positives is much more
difficult to determine...)  (i could be wrong about the percentages,
however, they are high....)

if the test is positive, it is recommended to have the thyroid removed,
and to take synthetic thyroid hormones....  if the thyroid is not removed,
and the cancer develops it is very often fatal... (again, i'm unsure of
the actual numbers here...)

my boyfriend has been only recently employed, and has for years been
rather scared of going to doctors (understandably, given how difficult
many of his family's experiences have been...  adding in the fact that one
of his previous girlfriends died of a brain tumor, despite very aggressive
therapy...)  so, now having determined that one of his great-grandparents
did pass this gene on to his granparents' generation, my boy-friend needs
to decide about having this test done...

i want to be as supportive as possible, but i also know that my sweetie is
the consumate procrastinator, and if i just leave him alone, he may
conveniently forget to make an appointment for years (literally... i think
his last check-up was in '90 or so!)..  i would appreciate any suggestions
any of you may have about how to be supportive of someone  you love, who
is going through this kind of difficult medical situation, with the
possibility of some very upsetting diagnoses...  

again, please respond to me personally at the address below, so as not to
clog the pumpers list with somewhat un-related postings...  if you are
interested in the responses, please let me know privately and i will try
to put them together in a coherent way, for you....

thanks for listening....

Jessica Elena Marder
email @ redacted

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