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Does anyone know if testing positive for a "spelling mistake" in your genetics affects future life insurance and critial illness cover and other questions?

(8 Posts)
TheMadHouse Tue 18-Sep-07 14:49:40


My family has been shown to have a genetic spelling mistake in the gene for breast cancer and also oviarian cancer sad. Both my mum and aunty (currently in remission smile) have the gene and my mums other sister died from oviarian cancer, along with numerous other family members including my granny.

I have been offered the test, however, before I take it I would like to know if it would effect any future insurances etc we may take out.

I am lucky in the fact that I have only had boys so the gene stops here so to speak.

I need to discuss a lot of things with a counceller, but at the moment my questions are:

Would I get more regular screening without the test.?
Would they take my ovarys out as a precaution (mum is having her out in December)?
Does huge boobs mean it is harder to diagnose breast cancer?

Any help would be great and also if anyone has any experiance of the above.


prettybird Tue 18-Sep-07 15:00:24

Tamum is the specialist in genetics, but I don't know the answer re insurance. The fact that yuo are aware of the risk may mean that any insurance would be null and void becasue you haven't let them know of the increased risk. So it might be better to get the risk done and know for sure.

It must be a worrying time for you. I found out that a particular breat/ovarioan cancer gene had decimated whole swathes of my family. Fortunately, altthgouh my granny was alreasy dead (not of cancer, which at 89 was itself a good sign, as it is one that normally hits in the 40s), my dad still chose to get tested to see if he was a carrier and he isn't. Even though I know theprobablity was in my favour before he had the test (given the age my granny died), I was still rattled and relieved when dad's tests came through clear.

Tamum Tue 18-Sep-07 15:07:33

Hello. I can't answer the specifics I'm afraid, but my gut feeling is that your family history is so strong that the insurance people might well take that into account anyway. If you take the test and get a negative that could help, and if you take it and get a negative that could improve things. To answer your specific questions as best I can (some of this will vary with health authority):

No, I don't think so- you would probably get less if you had a negative result, but not necessarily.

Only if it was your choice- there won't be any kind of coercion.

It can be, yes, but if you have mammograms then they should be able to cope.

Hope that helps a bit, but I should say that althoguh I am a geneticist I am not a medic.

Tamum Tue 18-Sep-07 15:08:41

Sorry, messed up the first bit- I meant that if you take the test and get a positive then your perceived risk might not be very different from the risk they assess from looking at your family history.

TheMadHouse Tue 18-Sep-07 15:11:37

Thank you very much for your answers. I am going to discuss this further with my DH and GP and try to make a decision.

Thanks Again

Tamum Tue 18-Sep-07 15:12:57

Good luck TheMadHouse- you know where we are if we can help at all

deepbreath Tue 18-Sep-07 16:08:16


I'm not sure how it would work for your family's genetics, but I know that my dh can't get life insurance at all because he has a fairly rare genetic condition that may be life threatening.

When we decided to have our children tested for this condition too, the geneticist emphasised very strongly that a positive result would certainly affect things like insurance and possibly even employment... this is why so many people are strongly against a "genetic database".

When I took out my life insurance policy, the insurance company asked me about whether close family members have had things like strokes/heart disease/cancer anyway.

Do speak to a genetic counsellor, they are fab and will be able to tailor any information like this for your situation.

Peachy Tue 18-Sep-07 16:17:37


Tamum is very much the expeert on the technicals here, (although maybe the quote my Mum angrily repeated to su after her last mamogram is a hint- 'Ah well at least with small tits it amkes us easier for me')

I think the real answer is that this is a hugely evolving subjecta rea- genetic ethics isn't yet established as well as it might be, certainly I have been reading that results of tests are becoming a huge issue in employment markets abroad- iirc America was quoted- but in reality I wouild agree that any insurance firm (As opposed to employer) would amke decisions based on family history- for example I pay a premium as both my younger sisters and aprents are on BP meds, now they're all overweight as well but the family history causes a hike for me.

Think there may be some milegae as well in the post that suggested you would lose if you ahd prior knowledge anyhow of an increased risk.

However, my friend is in a similar situation (mum, Nan, both aunts all died from breast cancer) and is considering whether to take the test, she feels verys trongly that she ahs a need to know. Now, there is some confusion for her as she eminates from a village which has a notably high and reported breast cancer cluster regardless of genetics, but I think the tests will give her some answers that she needs to decide things such as whether she opts for a double mastectomy- a hard option but a viable one, perhaps.

I wish you luck in your tests if you have them

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