Women with breast, ovarian cancer family history should attend seminar

Feb. 1, 2013

An educational seminar featuring a panel of local experts who will provide valuable information about hereditary breast cancer and ovarian cancer will be held at BCM Saturday, Feb. 9.

The seminar will be hosted by Dr. Julie Nangia, assistant professor in the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center at BCM, and her colleague Sarah Zentack, a genetic counselor in the Smith Breast Center.

It will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Cullen Auditorium. The conference is free and open to the public, and lunch will be provided. Please RSVP for the conference with Jennifer Fadner at 713-798-4590 or jh3@bcm.edu.

Women with a family history of breast and ovarian cancer should make education about the disease and their risk for it a priority, Nangia said.

"Identifying high-risk women is key to early prevention, and early prevention saves lives," she said. "Women who have a strong family history have a very high risk."

Additionally, there are known genetic mutations that may significantly increase the risk of breast cancer, said Zentack. Testing is available to identify mutations for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Genetic experts such as Zentack help assess the need for testing.

"We consider multiple factors when deciding which family members of breast cancer patients should be tested, including the type of cancer, age and how close the relation is," said Zentack.

At the upcoming conference, Nangia and Zentack and their colleagues will present the latest information on hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, as well as answer questions from the audience.