PHOTO: Lauren M. Corduck, founder & executive director of OneInForty, with her father, Bob Cooperstein, holds a photo of Bob’s mother Frances, who died of breast cancer at 56, one month after Lauren was born. “My father inherited his BRCA gene mutation from his mother and, fortunately, has never developed the associated cancers, which include prostate and male breast cancer,” says Lauren. “I inherited my father’s gene mutation – every son and daughter of a BRCA+ woman or man has a 50% chance of being BRCA+ themselves.” Photo by Sarah Bastille for MGH Cancer Center
Ashland’s Temple Emek Shalom will host a oneinforty symposium to educate the community about Ashkenazi Jews’ one-in-40 risk of inheriting a BRCA gene mutation. People who have a BRCA mutation are at high risk for developing ovarian, prostate and male and female breast cancer that, in many cases, can be prevented or detected early.
Knowledge is Empowering: Understanding the Jewish-Cancer Connection will be held 7-9 pm, Thursday, June 13, at Temple Emek Shalom, 1800 E. Main St., Ashland. This symposium is free and open to the public. Kosher refreshments will be served.
“If the information to be tested for the mutations were readily available to me 25 years ago, Lauren would have had an excellent chance of avoiding Stage 4 ovarian cancer today,” writes Bob Cooperstein, father of oneinforty founder Lauren Corduck. “Yes, she would have had to make some difficult decisions, but likely could have avoided the cancer. An easy decision in hindsight.”
Oneinforty is a Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization that raises awareness of the one-in-40 risk to Ashkenazi Jews of inheriting BRCA gene mutations and provides the support individuals and families need to effectively manage their cancer risk.
Lauren’s uncle Peter Ollman spearheaded the effort to bring the symposium to Oregon. The symposium will include information about genetic counseling, screening for BRCA mutations, misconceptions about hereditary cancer, how BRCA-positive individuals can manage their risk of developing cancer and emotional support resources. Jewish cancer survivors who have a BRCA gene mutation will also share their stories.
“I love my niece and have been very close to her since her birth,” says Peter. “She is stage 4 ovarian cancer and I want to be as much a part of her life as I can living so far away. This nonprofit is very important to her so it’s important to me.”
Peter studies Musar at Temple Emek Shalom and is friends with many members there. He approached Emek Shalom member Dr. Richard Karchmer with the idea. A retired oncologist, Richard was eager to help. Lauren and Peter hope to have 30 to 40 people at the symposium. But Peter says that the reach extends beyond attendees. Even those who just hear about the event will be more aware of the risks.
“We’ve learned that most men and women who have Ashkenazi Jewish heritage and primary care physicians are unaware of the 1:40 statistic,” says Lauren Corduck, oneinforty founder and executive director. “For this reason, most BRCA+ patients like myself receive a cancer diagnosis and/or lose loved ones to the BRCA cancers before learning that they have hereditary cancer syndrome.”
A Q&A session will follow presentations by each of the panelists: Oneinforty Founder Lauren Corduck, BRCA+ ovarian cancer patient; Nancy L. Hagloch, MD, gynecologist/obstetrician, Providence Medford Medical Center; Richard K. Karchmer, MD, retired general oncologist; and Melanie Dines, RN, MSN, CBCN, breast health/oncology navigator, Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center.
For more information, contact Lauren Corduck at 617-823-3630 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is no charge for this event, however registrations are requested. To register, follow this link and then click on “Register Today,” http://oneinforty.org/upcoming-events/.