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How one company controls your breast cancer choices

So far, much of the heated discussion about Angelina Jolie's brave Op-Ed in the New York Times today has focused on her decision to undergo a double mastectomy after learning she carried the BRCA1 gene. As Salon noted here, that's not the only option. But for those who do want to consider following Jolie's path, there are structural barriers to even gaining the information to make those choices, something she mentions but doesn't explain. It's because one company, Myriad Genetics, owns the patent to the two genes that indicate an increased risk of breast or ovarian cancer. You read that right: The genes themselves, not the procedure to test for them. And the Supreme Court will decide in a matter of weeks whether that should continue.

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