MAKE ONE PERSON AWARE….

and save a family for generations to come

It’s OK to ask….

Did you know?

  1. One in eight women in the UK develop breast cancer.

    This has been rising over the past twenty years and is largely due to a change in lifestyle and hormonal factors. 80% of breast cancer occurs in women over the age of fifty. This means that in a city of a million people approximately 500 women are diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time every year. A family history of breast, ovarian or prostate cancer or close relatives diagnosed under the age of forty might suggest other family members might be at an increased risk.

  2. With early detection, 90% of patients will be long term survivors.

    Catching cancer before it spreads is the best way of curing breast cancer but screening and advances in chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormonal treatments have hugely improved survival and overall 80% of breast cancer patients will live at least ten years. Apart from a lump, a change to the shape of the breast or the nipple on one side could be an early sign that something is wrong.

  3. An increased risk of breast, ovarian and prostate cancer can run in families.

    Often this is due to inherited changes in genes passed on from our parents that code for proteins. Genes help to build and repair the body. Small changes in the sequence of letters in our genes can increase the risk of cancer. At least 10% of breast cancers have an inherited component and 2% of all breast tumours are caused by a change in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. Up to 10% of common ovarian tumours (serous or endometrioid) can be caused by alterations in these genes.

  4. One In two hundred women carry an alteration in a breast and ovarian cancer gene placing them at a very high risk.

    Inheriting an alteration in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes can be associated with up to a 80% chance of breast cancer and 40% of ovarian cancer. Cancer is rare in these patients under the age of thirty but then starts to rise by 1-2% per year thereafter. Other genes have also been shown to be involved which can be linked to other tumours, including stomach, bowel, soft tissue, lung and brain tumours.

  5. Men can develop breast cancer and pass on the risk to their daughters – they also have an increased risk of prostate cancer.

    It is not true to say that nothing can be done about inherited cancer. Lifestyle factors such as what we eat, alcohol and smoking are still important. New studies have shown that breast feeding and maintaining your weight in the normal range can lower the risk. In some situations, a hormone blocker may be suggested and these can lower the risk by approximately 40%. Preventative breast surgery lowers the risk by at least 90% and preventative gynaecological surgery to remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes can lower both the risk of ovarian type tumours and even breast cancer (if carried out before the menopause).

  6. With support, the risks of cancer can be greatly reduced through lifestyle, medical or preventative surgical choices.

    Often this is due to inherited changes in genes passed on from our parents that code for proteins. Genes help to build and repair the body. Small changes in the sequence of letters in our genes can increase the risk of cancer. At least 10% of breast cancers have an inherited component and 2% of all breast tumours are caused by a change in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. Up to 10% of common ovarian tumours (serous or endometrioid) can be caused by alterations in these genes.

  7. The Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline runs 24 hours a day to support women and their families affected with familial cancer.

    Clinical genetics departments, breast surgeons, oncologists, gynaecologists, psychologists and general practitioners can often answer your concerns. However, the Helpline offers four additional services. 1) Access to a network of families and local support groups in similar position. There is additional support for young people, those with extremely rare inherited conditions and partners. 2) A chance to talk to others whom have had preventative surgery and been through treatment, which can be extremely helpful especially for practical help. 3) Practical help, support, information and clinical sign-posting for your concerns 4) Inspiration, leadership and opportunities to participate in helping with the fight against inherited cancer. This has included awareness campaigns, charity shops, legal challenges to patents, calendars containing photographs of women post preventative mastectomy, training for the helpline, political lobbying, national awards and media work.

What it means:

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