Angelina Jolie and the 'Breast Cancer Gene'
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Angelina Jolie and the 'Breast Cancer Gene'

Angelina Jolie's revelation of her preventative double mastectomy is raising new fears as well as some reassurance. Even those who applaud her courage worry about over-reaction. Also, President Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan hold a press conference, and the pros and cons of creating human embryonic stem cells.

Banner image: TobyMelville/Reuters

Making News

Obama Tries to Regain Momentum ()

At the White House today, President Obama said firing the head of the IRS isn't enough. He told reporters that Congress needs to clarify old laws relating to the taxation of "social welfare" groups that engage in politics. He and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan also addressed the situation in Syria. Steve Clemons is Washington editor of The Atlantic and publisher of the political blog, The Washington Note.





Main Topic

Angelina Jolie, Breast Cancer and Radical Surgery ()

In 1974, First Lady Betty Ford talked openly about her mastectomy, bringing the fears of every woman out into the open. Since then, much has changed, including the discovery of the BRCA 1 and 2 genes in 1994 and 95.  This week, international super-star Angelina Jolie revealed her decision to have both breasts removed — even though she did not yet have cancer – starting a new conversation about what to do if genetic testing shows a high risk for the disease. Experts say the most important lesson is that even the testing is not for everyone, let alone a double mastectomy. There’s concern that many women will demand more treatment than they need, partly because of the "pink ribbon" culture and the medical industry. We hear more about the agonizing decisions women might be faced with all on their own.


Reporter's Notebook

The Implications of Cloned Embryonic Stem Cells ()

Human embryonic stem cells can now be created in the laboratory — and they, in turn, can be transformed into any kind of cell in the body. That means truly exciting prospects for treating disease, as well as both legal and ethical issues creating embryos that will then be destroyed or the possibility of cloning a human being. Hank Greely is director of Stanford Universty's Center for Law and the Biosciences.


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