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Alan is in his late thirties when he is diagnosed with lung cancer. A genetic test reveals that he has Li Fraumeni Syndrome, a fault in a gene which predisposes him to cancer.Alan starts but the treatment takes its toll. He and his wife Rachel try to resume family life - they have three children and Rachel is pregnant. But over the coming months Alan's health deteriorates further and eventually Alan dies.Soon after his death, Rachel gives birth to their baby. Over the next eighteen months she's increasingly unnerved by the pattern that's now emerging in Alan's extended family. Two of his siblings have died from cancer and there are tumours developing in other siblings, and in some of their children. Rachel is extremely worried that some of her own children, aged 2 to 12 years, may also carry the genetic fault.Rachel visits a genetics service and asks them to test her four children for Li Fraumeni Syndrome. The genetic counsellor explains that children are not usually tested for this condition as there is little benefit in knowing - while there's a high risk of cancers developing in affected children, there is no reliable way of detecting these cancers early. Rachel remains committed - she wants to know if any of her children carry the faulty gene.Should the genetic team allow her to have her children tested?
Metadata describing this Open University audio programme
Series: Inside the ethics committee; Series 9
Episode 3
First transmission date: 2013-08-22
Original broadcast channel: BBC Radio 4
Published: 2013
Rights Statement: Rights owned or controlled by The Open University
Restrictions on use: This material can be used in accordance with The Open University conditions of use. A link to the conditions can be found at the bottom of all OU Digital Archive web pages.
Duration: 00:42:00
Note: Radio 4 version
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Producer: Beth Eastwood
Presenter: Joan Bakewell
Contributors: Joan Bakewell; J. Richard Ashcroft; Deborah Bowman; Gareth Evans
Publisher: BBC Open University
Production number: PEI32001353
Available to public: no