Friday, January 15, 2010

Cancer risks and double standards


Lorne Gunter has a column about the abortion/breast cancer thing Andrea mentioned earlier. Personally, I’m not all that excited. I find that being afraid of getting breast cancer is not exactly a stellar reason to choose not to abort a pregnancy, and besides, it’s not right to scare people with risks that appear to be (if I understood correctly) fairly small. But there is a but. Two, actually.

One: If there is a reasonably good reason to believe that a procedure might increase certain risks (cancer, depression, etc.) and/or have undesirable side effects, it simply is wrong not to mention those risks and side effects and make sure the patient understands them before performing the procedure. If relevant information is suppressed, the choice can’t be free.

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