I went to see the geneticist at the hospital the other day, and I have to say: Until I saw it all written out, I had no idea how many people in my family had cancer. Now granted, there were a lot of heavy smokers and the occasional heavy drinkers, yet I always thought of mine as a heart attack/stroke kind of family.
The great-grandmothers with stomach cancer? The geneticist shrugged. “There was so much bad stuff in the food back then, there was a lot more stomach cancer,” she said. She was more interested in my father dying from pancreatic cancer. She said that was significant. (I think it had more to do with all the nitrate-heavy lunchmeat and the can of Diet Coke that he had for lunch every day, but whatever.)
So they took some blood and they sent it off to a lab in Utah, and I will find out all kinds of DNA trivia about myself. There is a federal law protecting my privacy, but as I told the geneticist, “I’m not counting on this Supreme Court to honor anything.”