The Things We Carry
What happens when your inheritance includes a life-threatening genetic mutation?
Five years ago, Moscow-based journalist Masha Gessen learned that she had inherited a genetic mutation—one which disproportionately affects women of Ashkenazi descent—that put her at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer. A decade earlier, her mother, who carried the same mutation, had died of breast cancer.
Armed with this knowledge, Gessen was forced to make some nearly impossible decisions about her future: Should she take the radical step of having her breasts and ovaries removed to prevent illnesses that might never come? If so, when (given that she was still breastfeeding her daughter, and had considered having another child)?
In her book, Blood Matters: From Inherited Illness to Designer Babies, How the World and I Found Ourselves in the Future of the Gene, Gessen writes about these dilemmas, and about those that others have faced, as genetic testing shines a new—and not always welcome—light on our futures. She speaks with Nextbook about the scientific, philosophical, and emotional implications of this complex new way of understanding ourselves.
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at email@example.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.