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The BRCA1 and BRCA2 Gene: Susan-Anne White Condemns Women Who Have Preemptive Surgery

Susan-Anne White, a True Christian, So True She Can’t Find Any Church Pure Enough For Her

Some of you may remember my interaction with Irish Fundamentalist Susan-Anne White. (Please read Susan-Anne White Thinks I’m a Despicable, Obnoxious, Militant, Hateful Atheist. and British Fundamentalist Susan-Anne White’s List of Politically Correct Words.) Several days ago, Ms. White decided to dispense medical advice to woman who have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. Here’s what White had to say:

Another group of surgeons who should have joined Mr.Paterson in the dock are those who perform mastectomies on patients who do not have cancer but were told by doctors that they carry a gene which supposedly increases the risk of them developing cancer in the future.

So, some (or perhaps many) women undergo mastectomies (sometimes double mastectomies) even though they do not have cancer and may never develop cancer. They are probably more at risk of being knocked down on the road than they are at risk of having cancer in the future.

All these surgeons should be in the dock!

The FACTS from the National Cancer Institute:

How much does having a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation increase a woman’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer?

A woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer is greatly increased if she inherits a harmful mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2.

Breast cancer: About 12 percent of women in the general population will develop breast cancer sometime during their lives. By contrast, according to the most recent estimates, 55 to 65 percent of women who inherit a harmful BRCA1 mutation and around 45 percent of women who inherit a harmful BRCA2 mutation will develop breast cancer by age 70 years .

Ovarian cancer: About 1.3 percent of women in the general population will develop ovarian cancer sometime during their lives. By contrast, according to the most recent estimates, 39 percent of women who inherit a harmful BRCA1 mutation and 11 to 17 percent of women who inherit a harmful BRCA2 mutation will develop ovarian cancer by age 70 years.

It is important to note that these estimated percentages of lifetime risk are different from those available previously; the estimates have changed as more information has become available, and they may change again with additional research. No long-term general population studies have directly compared cancer risk in women who have and do not have a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.

It is also important to note that other characteristics of a particular woman can make her cancer risk higher or lower than the average risks. These characteristics include her family history of breast, ovarian, and, possibly, other cancers; the specific mutation(s) she has inherited; and other risk factors, such as her reproductive history. However, at this time, based on current data, none of these other factors seems to be as strong as the effect of carrying a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.

Shock! White doesn’t know what she is talking about.


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    I remember Susan-White very well. She’s still at it I see.

    There are medical procedures that I think are statistically dubious. Where palliative care is severely intrusive with a view to reducing an already low risk threat, then I’d tend to agree with Mrs. White (don’t forget the Mrs.). In other words the cure is worse than the benefits. However, in a situation where it’s a 50% chance of developing a cancer then I say that is a ‘no brainer’. Mrs. White is entirely wrong.

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    Bruce Gerencser

    White left the following comment on her blog post:

    Back again to make mischief Bruce. Going after Evangelical Christians whose faith you once espoused is “grist to your mill.” By the way, my title is “Mrs” not “Ms” but you do love to annoy me, and I live in Northern Ireland and am British not Irish (all these facts you know full well.) The post you are commenting on centred around disgraced surgeon Ian Paterson. You ignored him completely. You also ignored surgeons who mutilate willing victims in so-called “sex-change” operations who were also shamed in our post. You majored on one part of our post i.e surgeons who perform mastectomies on women who do not have cancer. The gene you mention in your comment (BRCA1 and BRCA2) may or may not increase the risk of developing cancer but the fact remains that mutilating and unnecessary surgery is being carried out on women who do not have cancer but who might develop it in the future. All surgery is potentially dangerous but sometimes it is necessary. but why have risky surgery when it is not necessary i.e when women do not have cancer. If you Bruce were told that you MIGHT develop cancer in your leg because you were genetically predisposed to it, would you request that surgeons amputate your leg? I think not.

    As you can see, White totally ignores the National Cancer Institute statistics. I plead guilty to using Ms. to irritate White. She doesn’t like me calling her by her last name either. Same goes for saying she is Irish. How dare I call a good British Protestant Irish!

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      Becky Wiren

      Oh my. Sounds like you could write several posts based on her ignorant one. Who is she to tell women what decisions they make concerning their OWN cancer risk? And who is she to tell transgender people that they can or cannot get surgery? She sure wallows in ignorance.

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        Scary, isn’t it? that this woman was once a nurse. Her ignorance is jawdropping, and her lack of empathy even more so. Am wondering if she was “let go” as we sometimes say this side of the pond i.e. fired. I struggle to believe that someone as shouty and intolerant as Ms White would keep her repellent views to herself while at work.

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      Bruce, I’m so glad you’re out making mischief. You’re like Satan sowing weeds in the Christian’s garden he-he-he-he!

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    Susan-Anne White

    Mr. Gerencser, one would have thought that at the age of 59 you might have acquired some wisdom and gravitas but alas no. By the way, I am not a Protestant. I am an Evangelical Christian. In fact, I am an ex-Roman Catholic. I also have a nursing qualification and worked in hospitals for several years (albeit many years ago) during which time I cared for patients with cancer. I am not ignorant of the subject matter about which I wrote and I maintain that it is wrong for surgeons to carry out unnecessary surgery on patients who do not have cancer but rather a higher than normal risk of developing it. If a woman has a mastectomy or double mastectomy because she has been told that she is at risk of developing cancer and the feared cancer never appears, that woman is scarred for life and it was totally unnecessary.Far better for women with the gene you mentioned to be assessed by doctors regularly and, if cancer is detected, then the woman can decide the best course of treatment for her, in consultation with her doctor.

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        Becky Wiren

        And apparently, this non-Protestant, non-Irish lady is more of a specialist than the doctors who treat these women. Plus Mrs White has agency over women’s decisions for their own body. Oh, I bet she’s pro-forced birth too.

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          She definitely IS pro-forced birth. Her postings about abortion are as ill-informed and draconian and simplistic as her postings about cancer and pre-emptive surgery. I’m sure the women who choose to have the pre-emptive surgery are fully aware they will have some scarring; they have clearly decided that a bit of scarring is better than developing cancer but no, this ridiculous and disturbed woman knows best! .If you read through some of her other posts, you’ll see that she is an expert on virtually everything!

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      Mrs White, I really do disagree with you here. A risk of cancer that exceeds 50% is medically very different to the levels of risk referred to in most other cancers. Waiting for cancer to develop before treatment is a very dangerous game. There’s a high risk that by the time it’s diagnosed it has become untreatable.

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      Susan-Anne likes to spout as if knows something of the sky-gawd’s ideas but what you are really doing, Susan-Anne White is being your judgemental, hard-hearted self. Tell us about who hurt you so badly in your past, who hardened you like this… What is best for a woman who has an inherited, high-risk gene is that she have options and not be directed and controlled by know-it-alls. Evangelical Christianity, the likes of which you espouse, is a virus. It quickly maims the host and causes them to say hateful, ignorant things to others while smiling and saying it is true love. It makes them think triune invisible powers are speaking to them and directing them. It appears to convince them in their fever, that preaching hatred is actually real love. Quixotically, although there is no known cure, it has been observed that continual exposure of someone affected, to someone more seriously afflicted, can act as a sort of antidote, a vaccine that eventually frees at least the one. You are a vaccine, Susan-Anne. Thank-you for continuing to free me and to affirm my lack of belief in your triune God.

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    The Facts, Ms White, the Mr Paterson who needlessly performed mastectomies on both men and women is now in jail. He was NOT part of the UK’s wonderful NHS, but a private practitioner. It’s unclear why he did it, money, power or whatever, he was clearly mentally ill IMO. He was a ‘one off’, please don’t lump other wonderful dedicated normal oncologists with this mutation of a human being. And women who have mastectomies don’t do so lightly, it’s not like having a small 5minute operation to remove an unsightly mole. It’s life-changing as well as life-saving. Reconstructive surgery is possible too in many cases so no one need know you have any sort of prosthesis (if that’s the right word). It’s akin to having vaccinations against preventable illness – but maybe Ms White is agin them too – just pray it all away. Or as Captain Cassidy (Role to Disbelieve) describes unanswered prayer, Maybe you didn’t think hard enough at the ceiling. Or often enough’……… I’ll go with oncology thanks!

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    I seem to recall that Mrs White believes homosexuals should be stoned to death (okay, slight exaggeration, but she does want it to be illegal). So somewhat paradoxical that Ireland now has a gay prime minister ((Republic of Ireland, as opposed to Northern Ireland, but still…). What next? Abortion in Northern Ireland made completely legal?

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    Take Control of Your Genetic Inheritance; A Cancer In The Family, by Theordora Ross, M.D., Ph.D. Forword by Siddhartha Mukherjee, M.D., Ph.D., author of The Emperor of All Maladies.

    The above mentioned book may be of some help to those (both men and women) interested in information that may assist them in making decisions about their health.

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    Not to minimize the trauma of preemptive breast cancer surgery, but to compare it to removing your leg as a precaution against possible future cancer is not apples to apples. One may live more or less normally without her breasts, while the loss of a leg would be a great hindrance. Now if you asked if he would remove his prostate if a gene indicated he were predisposed to cancer, his answer might well be yes.

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    Angela Jolie had a preventative double mastectomy as did the brilliant and very funny comedian Tig Notaro. Tig actually unveiled her breastless chest on an HBO Special. An old friend of mine also had a preventative double mastectomy. She was a devout Catholic and would say to Sue-Anne White “Bite me!”

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