Dear Rabbi Halperin,
I am a Chicagoan who has tested positive for the 6174 del T mutation of the BRCA2
gene. When I underwent a prophylactic hysterectomy last October, I found out that people in my area were woefully ignorant with regard to this deleterious gene and
its potential impact on its carriers health.
Having come from a family in which an aunt and an uncle on my dad's side died from cancer, and 2 other members have undergone treatment, I resolved that I would try to do something to help others who might be in my predicament without knowing it. To that end, I contacted Jewish organizations and expressed an interest in disseminating literature about genetic cancer.
It is my understanding that there are some thorny halachic issues pertaining to preventive treatment and BRCA gene carriers. My feeling is that if I am to disseminate literature on genetic cancer, it behooves me to be familiar with these issues. It is to that end that I hope that you will be able to help me out by filling me in on some of the vital questions involved in the simplest, most understandable terms possible. Thank you in advance for any insights that you might be able to provide.