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Webinar for BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers facing tough choices

Tuesday 6 August, 2013

New research released today has revealed that women with a strong genetic predisposition to breast cancer may be able to dramatically reduce their risk of developing a new tumour by taking the cancer prevention tablet Tamoxifen after their first tumour.

Cancer Council Victoria supports the call for people who carry these genes to discuss their prevention options with their specialist in the light of this new evidence contained in a multinational study led by researchers at the University of Melbourne and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

Cancer Council will hold a free national webinar next month for younger women who are considering their options after being diagnosed with BRCA 1 and/or BRCA 2 gene. The webinar, to be held on Tuesday 24th September, 2013 from 7.30pm until 8.30pm, will discuss issues that can arise from a diagnosis of being a BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 carrier, including implications for family planning and fertility, body image, navigating relationships, and preventative action including surgery and the use of Tamoxifen.

Following this, three women who've made three different choices with three different outcomes will share their stories.

"Providing women who are facing life changing decisions with the opportunity to talk to someone who really understands what they're going through, because they've been there themselves, is invaluable" said Cancer Council CEO Todd Harper earlier today. "Just as medical advice is of utmost importance when facing the challenges that arise after finding out you're at a higher risk of developing cancer, so is feeling supported by others in a similar situation."

Cancer Council Victoria experienced a significant increase in demand for this type of information following actress Angelina Jolie's public comments about her decision to undergo a prophylactic (or preventive) double mastectomy earlier in the year. A webinar for women who were worried about their genetic risk was held in June.

Although breast cancer is common in Australia, only 5% to 10% of cases are linked to known genetic factors, but the support and information needs of those diagnosed are understandably significant. This event will provide those who have the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, and their partners or families, with the opportunity to ask questions, share fears and connect with others in an anonymous way from the comfort of their own home.

For more information, or to register, call the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20.