Author Archives: Catriona Remocker

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

Jewish Men’s Health and Cancer: What do genes have to do with it?

This webinar will focus on the essentials of what Jewish men need to know about managing their health and preventing prostate and other cancers. We will begin with a presentation by urologic surgeon and internationally renowned clinical scientist Dr. Goldenberg (CM, OBC, MD, FRCSC), who will provide an overview of “what is mens health” and risk factors for a variety of illnesses, including prostate cancer. Following this talk, there will be an in-depth discussion of two genes known for their roles in women’s breast and ovarian cancers – BRCA1 and BRCA2 – now becoming better understood as a factor in several men’s cancers including breast, aggressive prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer and melanoma. Jewish men are at high risk of carrying these genes and are able to pass them on to their children. We will also hear some stories of men in our community who have been affected by these genes. Finally Dr. Goldenberg, along with members of the BC Cancer Agency’s Hereditary Cancer program will be available to answer any audience follow up questions.

You can access the webinar through this link: https://youtu.be/pZ10oMRtTdA.

Basser Center Webinar: BRCA in Men

In this March 8, 2016 webinar, Susan Domchek, MD, and Justin Bekelman, MD, discussed how BRCA mutations affect men, such as increased risk of prostate cancer. Dr. Domchek is the Basser Professor in Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania, Executive Director of the Basser Center for BRCA, and Director of the MacDonald Cancer Risk Evaluation Center at the Abramson Cancer Center. Dr. Bekelman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology and the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Perelman School of Medicine, Associate Scholar in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Faculty in the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Edward and Merry Prostic have generously established this webinar series as part of The Elizabeth Prostic Memorial Outreach Program at the Basser Center for BRCA in memory of their daughter, which will provide life-saving information and hope to individuals and families nationwide.

This webinar was presented to parent groups in the BC Jewish community on April 12th 2021. Event description: “Many of us are not aware of our Jewish roots that put us and our families at greater risk of several genetically-driven cancers. Join us to learn about the BRCA genes, which affect 1 in 40 people with Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry and increase the risk of early onset and aggressive cancers. During this hour, we will talk about options for testing, cancer prevention and how to discuss this difficult issue with your children and other family members. This event will feature personal stories from community members and Q and A with members of the BC Cancer Agency’s Hereditary Cancer Program and a special presentation by Dr. Lesa Dawson on BC’s new Survivorship Clinic.”

Please find the link to the recording here: https://youtu.be/zrJRHGjAx44

New Webinar: What’s in Your Genes? A Community-Wide Virtual Learning Event for Parents

What’s in Your Genes? A Community-Wide Virtual Learning Event for Parents

April 12, 2021 at 7:30pm

Many of us are not aware of our Jewish roots that put us and our families at greater risk of several genetically-driven cancers. Join us to learn about the BRCA genes, which affect 1 in 40 people with Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry and increase the risk of early onset and aggressive cancers. During this hour, we will talk about options for testing, cancer prevention and how to discuss this difficult issue with your children and other family members. This event will feature personal stories from community members and Q and A with a Genetic Counsellor from the BC Cancer Agency’s Hereditary Cancer Program.

Featuring: Tovah Carr, Alison Mindlin and Dr. Lesa Dawson

Please register at http://talmudtorah.com/brca

Webinar recording now available: https://youtu.be/zrJRHGjAx44

Public Conference: Living with BRCA 2021

Living with BRCA is a full day conference for the general public that provides up-to-date clinical and research information focused on hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

This unique event, open to the general public, brings together experts in medicine, biology, psychology, and wellness, all of whom are united in one goal: bettering the lives of those living with BRCA and their families and friends.

The event is being held on March 5, 2021 as part of the multi-day BRCA Symposium, which attracts top BRCA researchers from across the globe.

For more information, please check out their website: https://brcasymposium.ca/eng/LWB_welcome.php

Study: Knowing about an inherited BRCA mutation improves outcomes for women with breast cancer

Inherited mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are linked to a high lifetime risk of breast and other cancers. The reviewed study shows that women who know that they have a BRCA mutation before they are diagnosed with breast cancer have improved outcomes including diagnosis at earlier stages and improved overall survival. This article was prepared by XRAY, a publication  that provides reliable information about cancer research-related news and information.

Read more: https://www.facingourrisk.org/XRAY/better-outcomes-for-women-that-know-BRCA-mutation-status

 

Webinar: Hereditary Prostate Cancer Treatment

This expert-led webinar presented by Heather Cheng, MD, PhD, discusses the importance of identifying hereditary cancer risk mutations for prostate cancer. Dr. Cheng discusses prostate cancer treatment and trials, as well as, screening trials for men with hereditary prostate cancer.

About The Speaker

Heather Cheng, MD, PhD

Dr. Heather Cheng, MD, PhD, is an Associate Professor in Medicine (Oncology Division) at the University of Washington, an Associate Member of the Division of Clinical Research at the Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center and is Director of the Prostate Cancer Genetics Clinic at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. As a medical oncologist she designs and conducts therapeutic clinical trials, particularly for men whose cancers have mutations in genes related to DNA repair, such as BRCA2, BRCA1.

Please find the link to the webinar-on-demand here.

Webinar: Population Based Testing for Cancer Susceptibility Genes

Presented by Oneinforty.org, this webinar features speakers, Dr. Elizabeth Etkin-Kramer, Dr. Ranjit Manchanda, Dr. Ephrat Levy-Lahad and Dr. Sophia George discussing the latest research supporting the case for population based testing. The webinar was presented in November 2020 and a recording is available on the Oneinforty.org website.