Monthly Archives: October 2021

New Study: Genetic testing for inherited mutations may be helpful for all people with advanced or metastatic cancer

In a study of nearly 12,000 cancer patients with a variety of cancers, eight percent of participants with metastatic cancer had an inherited mutation in a cancer gene that qualified them for a targeted treatment or for participation in a clinical trial. The majority of people with metastatic cancer were unaware that they had an inherited mutation, and had not receive gene-directed treatment to which their tumor may have responded. Of the study participants, 17% tested positive for an inherited mutation in a gene linked to cancer and a potential treatment based on genetic test results existed for 10% of patients in this study. The most commonly found mutation were one of the two BRCA genes. The study authors suggest that genetic testing for inherited mutations may be warranted for all patients with advanced or metastatic cancer. To learn more and read further into this study, please click here:


“Beyond Angelina Jolie: Diagnosis and Management of Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome”

Family Physician Webinar: “Beyond Angelina Jolie: Diagnosis and Management of Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome”

BRCAinBC’s Dr. Rona Cheifetz MD FRCSC Surgical Oncology at BC Cancer’s Hereditary Cancer Program and Dr. Lesa Dawson MD FRCSC BC Gynecologic Oncology Cancer Survivorship Clinic presented this informative and well-received webinar on September 16, 2021 as part of BC Cancer’s Continuing Medical Education Program. The webinar is intended to help BC’s physicians 1) Identify the features of family history and ethnic background that influence hereditary risk; 2) Describe the ovarian and breast cancer risk management options for BRCA mutation carriers; and 3) Cite the management of other cancer risks associated with BRCA mutations.

Please click on the link below to view the webinar.


Research Participation Opportunity: Sharing Hereditary Cancer Information within the Family

This study is being conducted by researchers at Memorial University in St. John’s, NL. It aims to explore the opinions of individuals from families with identified BRCA 1/2 and Lynch mutations about methods of informing relatives about their risk of inherited cancer. The researchers would like to hear about the experience of telling other family members about their family genetic cancer risk. They also hope to hear from people who were told about their risk by a relative but may not themselves have informed others in the family. The survey takes about 15-20 minutes to fill out.

They hope that this information will allow them to identify all possible ways at-risk individuals could be identified so they might benefit from genetic counselling and life-saving interventions.

For more information or to participate please click here.

David’s Story, 2021

I am 49 years old and was diagnosed as a positive BRCA mutation carrier in July 2021. This was following a consultation with my family doctor, at which I asked if I should be genetically screened.

She agreed I should be tested because of my family history and European Jewish heritage and made the referral to the local Health Sciences Centre.

She asked me to tell her where my family came from and what I knew about their medical history, including any cancer diagnoses and this is what I shared with her.

My Dad’s grandparents came from Russia and Romania and immigrated to Canada in the early 1903.

I knew both my Bobba and Zaide very well. Bobba suffered from Angina. My Zaide had excellent health until age 83 when he experienced back pain and went to the doctor. They discovered he had liver cancer, presumed it was secondary to prostate cancer and he passed away 3 weeks after the initial diagnosis.

My Mum’s grand parents, were both born in Russia and immigrated to St. Paul Minnesota in the early 1900’s. My grandfather enrolled in the US army and had heart problems. He died following a second heart attack at age 49. My grandmother, however, lived to the ripe old age of 93 and passed away in 2012 from natural causes.

My Dad is now 78 and in good health. My mother, however, died at age 58. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 35, was given a total mastectomy and was in remission for 20 years. However, in 2002 she experienced bad back pain and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and, sadly, died 18 months later. Her sister, my Aunt, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 and is now following treatment to ensure it does not return. One of her daughters, my cousin, died of lung cancer in 2014 and since then the rest of the family has all been screened for the BRCA genetic mutations. Both my girl cousins have tested positive, as did one of their daughters.

This was the reason I decided I would like to be screened. It was also the reason that I did not need or request genetic counseling prior to testing. I also did not want or need counseling following the positive result.

However, I did go back to my family doctor, to discuss the finding. She has been amazing and is very knowledgeable about the BRCA genes and the related cancer risks. She did a and prostate examination which was normal and PSA screening which also came back normal and she told me I did not need to be referred to an oncologist at this time. She would be responsible for my on-going care, ensuring I have regular screening for potential prostate problems and told me how to do regular breast screening on myself at home.

I cannot fault the doctors who I have consulted with. They are thorough and have given me amazing support.

-David Salita, 49, BRCA2 positive