Skip to main content

Table 1 Disease characteristics and their relation to ethical principles: Ethical issues to consider

From: The role of disease characteristics in the ethical debate on personal genome testing

Disease characteristic Ethical principles Relation characteristic/principle:
Ethical issues to consider
Severity Beneficence
Non-maleficence
High severity → high potential for medical benefit, high risk of psychological harm
Actionability Beneficence
Non-maleficence
High actionability → high potential for (medical) benefit
Moderate actionability → risk of psychological harm (e.g. victim-blaming or feelings of guilt)
Low actionability → risk of psychological harm (emotional impact of test result)
Age of onset Respect for autonomy Late age of onset → right not to know in adults and children
Psychiatric/somatic Non-maleficence Psychiatric diseases: more risk of harm because of stigma; more risk of harm because of psychological impact