Covering Jewish Life in Orange County
Jewish Genetics and Cancer

Learn how to take lifesaving steps

Did you know that one in 40 Ashkenazi Jewish men and women – more than 10 times the national average –carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 cancer-causing mutation. These mutations cause higher rates of breast, prostate, brain and ovarian cancers.

Congregation B’nai Israel is presenting a critical special discussion called “Jewish Genetics and Cancer” on Sunday November 6 at 10 a.m. at Congregation B’nai Israel’s social hall, 2111 Bryan Avenue, Tustin. The program is sponsored by CBI Congregation Nursing Program and Hoag Health Ministries.

Participants will learn what steps they can take to save lives – the lives of those they love and their own. The discussion includes CBI members affected by the mutation and an acclaimed Hoag Cancer Center genetics counselor.

CBI Members with the BRCA genetic mutation include Ida Eblinger Kelley, a 44-year-old recent survivor diagnosed with ovarian cancer in November 2015. Her family had no obvious BRCA history going back several generations. Concerned about her young daughters and interested in the emergence of BRCA-based treatments, Ida was tested and learned she is BRCA 1 positive. Subsequently, her parents were tested and learned that her father was the carrier.

Bonnie Solomon, also a BRCA carrier, has a family history of breast, ovarian and prostate cancers, including her mother who passed away from ovarian cancer. When this CBI member learned about genetic testing 11 years ago, and as the single mother of three young sons, she knew she needed to find out. After testing positive with the mutation, she took life-saving steps known to significantly reduce the chances of cancers associated with the mutation.

Jeanne Homer, genetics counselor, Hereditary Cancer Program, Hoag Cancer Center, became interested in cancer genetics after her father was diagnosed with cancer in 1990. She then pursued a master’s degree in genetic counseling from UC Irvine and became a board certified genetic counselor. Her goal is that everyone diagnosed with cancer at Hoag will be offered the opportunity for hereditary cancer assessment, so their families will not have to spend years wondering and worrying about their own cancer risks. She is forever grateful to Nancy Raymon, CBI congregation nurse, who brought her to Hoag in 2002.

The presentation and discussion will be followed by questions and answers. Bagels and coffee will be served. There is no charge, but RSVP is required to cbi18@cbi18.org. For more information, call (714) 730-9693 or visit https://www.cbi18.org/events/jewish-genetics-and-cancer/

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