Friday, January 11, 2013

Making a clean breast: An Ethical Conundrum

First, let me say that I admire this young woman's courage and dedication, and of course this is her choice, her decision.

Having said that, I am troubled by the message she's apparently trying to send about young women and breast cancer:

"Win or lose Saturday, Miss America contestant Allyn Rose will have conveyed a message about breast cancer prevention using her primary tool as a beauty queen: her body. The 24-year-old Miss DC plans to undergo a double mastectomy ... removing both breasts as a preventative measure to reduce her chances of developing the disease that killed her mother, grandmother and great aunt."

Here's the thing: while there's sufficient evidence linking genetics and predisposition to certain cancers (such as of the breast), it's not a certainty that she'll ever develop the disease. The problem is the message that she's sending to millions of other young women about preemptive mutilation (regardless of the underlying risk).

As a husband, and the proud (if harried) father of two lovely daughters, I'm concerned about this message. I certainly wish Ms Rose good health and long life, but remain unconvinced that this is an ideal route.

What say you, dear reader?

Do you think Ms Rose's decision sends a helpful message to other young women? free polls 
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