Women with an identified BRCA gene mutation and their families can learn more about their cancer risks and prevention options at a conference Oct. 29 at Baylor College of Medicine.

"We know that women who test positive for a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes are at a significantly higher risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer," said Dr. Julie Nangia, assistant professor in the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center, who will co-host the conference along with Sarah Zentack, a genetic counselor in the Smith Breast Center. "There is a critical need to educate these women, and their families, about their risks and best approach to prevention."

BRCA carriers can take a variety of approaches to prevention, including prophylactic mastectomies (removal of both breasts), oophorectomy (removal of ovaries) and more aggressive and earlier screening, Nangia said. "It’s important for these women to be educated about their options so they can make the right decision with their doctor."

Family members also need to be educated about testing for the mutation. "The ultimate goal of BRCA genetic testing is cancer prevention and early detection," said Zentack.

Featured BCM Expert Speakers

The conference will feature the following BCM expert speakers in addition to Nangia and Zentack.

  • Dr. Sharon Plon, director of the BCM Cancer Genetics Clinic
  • Dr. Karla Sepulveda, assistant professor in the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Imaging Center
  • Dr. Daniel Albo, chief of surgical oncology at BCM
  • Dr. Lior Heller, breast cancer reconstructive surgeon at BCM
  • Dr. Matthew Anderson, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology – division of gynecologic oncology
  • Dr. Mothaffar Rimawi, medical director of the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center

Free and open to the public, the conference will be held from 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
in BCM’s Cullen Auditorium. Light breakfast and lunch and will be served. 
Registration is required. Please RSVP by Oct. 15 to Jennifer Hopkins at (713) 798-4590 or jh3@bcm.edu. Para RSVP en Espanol, llame Daisy Sanchez at (713) 873-3107. Spanish translators will be on-site.

Cullen Auditorium is located in the BCM Cullen Building at One Baylor Plaza, 77030. Parking is available in the Texas Medical Center Garage 7, which is located within walking distance of the Cullen Building at 1120 John Freeman Boulevard, 77030

To locate the Cullen Building and Garage 7 on a map, visit: www.bcm.edu/maps.

The Smith Breast Center is a part of the NCI-designated Dan L Duncan Cancer Center at BCM.

The conference is supported in part by a grant to Nangia from the Houston affiliate of Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure.