Reporter, Bloomberg News
“How Scared Should We Be of Our DNA?”
Cortez’s compelling story interweaves the experiences of Mike Dillon, who learns that he carries a CDH1 mutation increasing his risk for an aggressive form of stomach cancer, with a conversation regarding risk and the unknown in DNA testing. Throughout the segment, Cortez powerfully blends the science of genetic testing, in this case, for a mutation linked to cancer, with communication of this science to individuals who undergo testing and are left with uncertainties about how to act on test results—in Dillon’s case, whether to undergo gastrectomy as a preventive measure. The journalist’s keen storytelling skills and precise reporting lead listeners to important questions in the field of gene testing for cancer, specifically, how much do researchers know about the implications of test results for patients? Cortez’s work highlights the need to communicate both our understandings and gaps in knowledge that can affect decision-making following genetic testing.