Tag Archives: cancer prevention

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

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


BRCA-negative Women Explore Their Options

Sometimes Jewish women with strong family histories of cancer test negative for BRCA. This great article talks about why testing negative doesn’t always put you in the clear for genetic cancers. Learn more below!



Two phone calls that changed my life forever

In the 1970s, my parental grandmother, then a young woman, was treated for breast cancer and made a full recovery. She died in 2014 having never been tested for the BRCA gene mutation. When she died, I requested to be tested for BRCA through the BC Hereditary Cancer Agency but was denied because no one in my immediate family had had a cancer that would directly link me to the gene.

In December 2017, I received a phone call from my sister. She had joined a study at Women’s College hospital in Toronto that included testing for the BRCA gene mutation. She and was positive for the gene. I didn’t hesitate to register for the study and pay the $250 USD for the test. So, my test came, I spit in the cup, sent it back for testing, and a month later I received a phone call informing me that I was also positive for the gene. In that one phone call, I was told that my chances of getting breast cancer and ovarian cancer were extremely high. I was also told that I should make some quick decisions about having more children because screenings and preventable surgeries were now available to me and were recommended immediately. The study also connected me to BC Hereditary Cancer Agency. Decisions were made at home and fortunately, I was pregnant within a month. I had a plan for a salpingo-oophorectomy (a surgery to remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes) the following year. While all of this was happening in my life my sister had gone for her first mammogram. It was clear, but in more intensive screening (available to BRCA carriers) found cancer.

I watched my beautiful older sister go through a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. My sister has made a full recovery and we celebrated the end of her chemo with the birth of my child.

I had my salpingo-oophorectomy the day before my sister’s reconstructive surgery. My sister is cancer free and alive from knowing she was BRCA positive and we are eternally grateful for that knowledge. Knowing I’m BRCA positive has afforded me the ability to make life decisions and have preventable surgeries to maintain my health. The knowledge
of being BRCA has been invaluable to my family. I truly believe now that knowledge is power.

by Tovah Carr, Previvor, Vancouver, BC