Uncertainty

Life’s great deceit
The human equalizer
Is death, certainly.
No announcement from our pilot
No time of arrival
No maps of the place we land,
And what happens
Afterwards
All mysteries, all.

He teases us with a whip sometimes
tickles our insides with a feather.
Cancer’s uncertain effects
Of diagnosis of life or death
Or would it be a stretch
Of the imagination
A Jewish woman may conjure up an image
like this:
I’m in a concentration camp
Looking down a barrel of a CT scanner
Like waiting in line for a shower
But the lot of us wind up
Tossed into a gas chamber.

A body transformed at the whims of science
For the good of us and the bad of the rest
And for those who cannot sleep.
My head droops on my neck escaping the air
Closer to the ground where the poison
Waits snaking up my body. A fat brown boa,
twisting and constricting
Suffocating my peace with a promise:
Please squeeze hard.
For thick with the dead
After life’s passing glory
The campaign marches on.
Beating time tracking and tracing out
Torsos with cold leather fingers
They drew my blood then sent me
To the mass grave. I fell in
Losing my balance.
On the bodies of giant
Piles of shoulders
I become faceless in a crowd
Of numbers up before mine.

Artemis August 2017 — Johns Hopkins Breast Cancer Center

Genetic Predisposition to Breast Cancer Due to Non-BRCA Mutations in Ashkenazi Jewish Women

Johns Hopkins BRCA Cancer Study

Genetic mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer in Ashkenazi Jewish women. A new article published in the journal JAMA Oncology examines the likelihood of carrying another cancer-predisposing mutation in BRCA1, BRCA2 or another breast cancer gene among women of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry with breast cancer who do not carry one of the founder mutations.

Mary-Claire King, Ph.D., of the University of Washington, Seattle, and coauthors sequenced genomic DNA of 1,007 women of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry with breast cancer for known and candidate breast cancer genes.

Of the 1,007 patients in the study, 903 had none of the three founder mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2. Of those 903 patients, seven (0.8 percent) carried a different mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2 and 31 (3.4 percent) carried a damaging mutation in another breast cancer gene, according to the results.

The study notes two limitations, including that only genes known or suspected to harbor mutations increasing the risk of breast cancer were sequenced.

“Ashkenazi Jewish patients with breast cancer can benefit from genetic testing for all breast cancer genes,” the article concludes.

SOURCE:JAMA Oncology, July 20, 2017