Contingency planning

hey world!

So about a year ago I signed up to 23andMe’s personal health service. I sent them a tube of my spit, as you do, and they set me up an account at 23andMe.com, where they gave me an estimation of my odds of developing various conditions, based on my genetic profile.

Here are some of my top risks:

Coronary Heart Disease – 58% (as opposed to the average 47%)
Prostate Cancer – 25% (as opposed to the average 18%)
Alzheimer’s Disease – 14% (as opposed to the average 7%)

On the plus side, they predicted a pretty reduced risk of:

Type 1 Diabetes – 0.1% (as opposed to the average 1%)
Melanoma – 0.7% (as opposed to the average 3%)
Age-related Macular Degeneration – 3.3% (as opposed to the average 6.5%)

So it’s not all bad, yeah?

I’m a bit gutted about having a 1 in 4 chance of getting prostate cancer, and not overjoyed about being told that I’m at double the normal risk of developing Alzheimer’s (since I’m already as forgetful as fuck); but fortunately these are only indications of probability, and it’s entirely possible that it’ll never happen.

That being said, they’re indications that I may as well take seriously. I’ll pay attention to the bits and bobs of prostate cancer research that I see, and I’ll do my part to lower my risk of Alzheimer’s as well (with further bits and bobs).

But these things do happen, so I’ve been thinking.

If I get Alzheimer’s, I’m gonna follow the instructions in this pretty legend pamphlet (heads up, it’s pretty legend but it’s also hardcore depressing). Amazing what you can find on the internet, really.

And if I get cancer, I’m throwing a party! I’ll probably need some cheering up, to be honest. Plus it’d be a great way to spread the news to all the people I see regularly but don’t know well enough to have an awkward “I have cancer” conversation with. It wouldn’t be too upbeat (I can’t imagine myself being in too much of a dancy mood, for example), but there’d be some nice music (maybe even a live band, depending on how much money I have) and some classy food. Probably not too much alcolol though; I’m not sure getting trashed would help anything. Maybe a glass or two of expensive wine. No champagne though – that’d just be poor taste.

P.S. And at least if I get Alzheimer’s I can plan my own surprise party. Happy World Mental Health Day 2011!

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