The following Letter to the Editor was published in the NY Times digital edition in response to a mention of Hadassah in an article published on September 25, 2015.
To the Editor:
As a two-time breast cancer survivor, I have nothing but compassion for Elizabeth Wurtzel's situation. However, I was troubled to see how Hadassah's position was characterized.
Earlier this year, Dr. Asher Salmon, an oncologist and deputy director of Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in Jerusalem, publicly renounced universal BRCA testing for women starting at age 30. He said that the results of BRCA testing alone, without genetic counseling and extensive analysis of family history, do not provide women with the complete picture needed to make an intelligent decision regarding treatment.
"Women with a family history of breast cancer should be tested — maybe as early as age 25 — but the majority of women never have to be tested," said Dr. Salmon. "We shouldn't be practicing one-size-fits-all medicine, but rather medicine with appropriate protocols, guidelines and individualized treatment based on patients' personal histories."
Dr. Salmon's positions represent the consensus in the medical industry. Hadassah believes one thing above all: Choosing a breast cancer screening is a decision that should be made on the basis of science, family history and the informed views of experts.
The writer is national president of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America.