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Copyright© 2019 American Medical Association. All rights reserved. People with genetic predispositions to disease are faced with uncertainty about whether, when, and to what extent an illness will actually develop. This prognostic uncertainty, combined with knowledge that preventative interventions (eg, risk-reducing surgeries for familial cancer syndromes) could significantly affect people's lives, renders prevention decisions especially challenging. This article illuminates ethical questions about the use of decision aids for people with genetic predispositions and calls for approaching individual decisions in light of ongoing communication and reflection about a person's life goals and values.

Original publication




Journal article


AMA Journal of Ethics

Publication Date





865 - 872