Actress Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy after discovering that she had the breast cancer gene common to Ashkenazi Jewish women.
The Susan B. Komen for the Cure foundation cut funding for Planned Parenthood breast cancer testing.
It’s hard to find a Jewish woman without a direct connection to breast cancer. With nearly one in 40 women of Ashkenazi descent possessing a genetic mutation that greatly increases their chances of contracting the disease, breast cancer, like Tay-Sachs and Gaucher’s, is a disproportionately Jewish disease.
Irit Paneth, in and out of remission from breast cancer for more than a decade, was among the thousands who wound their way like a giant pink-and-white ribbon through Jerusalem's streets in the first Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Race for the Cure held in Israel.
Critics fear that Jewish genetic research also opens a Pandora's box. The discovery of a shared genetic marker among men who claim to be descended from Kohanim grew into wild, exaggerated claims in the media that geneticists had confirmed the story of Aaron
While within the general population about 5 percent of cancers can be attributed to a hereditary syndrome, in the Jewish community, that number is closer to 30 percent. The good news is that knowledge about how the mutation causes cancer is opening scientific doors to more effective, targeted treatment for those already diagnosed. And people who have the genetic mutation can take preventative measures to drastically reduce their breast and ovarian cancer risk.
They say brakha, I say brucha in referring to BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations, the strong predictors of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer found with unusual frequency in women of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. Yes, "brucha," the Hebrew for blessing. Initially, I was being facetious by giving a Jewish pronunciation to the "Jewish gene"; at age 56 I had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and "tumor humor" helped me cope.
Ever since Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards, announced that her breast cancer had recurred and was treatable, but not curable, breast cancer organizations have been fielding questions from women -- both from cancer patients and from women worried that if breast cancer does strike, it might also hit them in its most severe form.
One out of eight women develop the disease over a lifetime, and the older a woman is, the higher her risk.To make matters worse, Jewish women have a slightly higher incidence of the disease.But no matter how low a risk factor you may have -- no family members with breast cancer, you had your children before the age of 35 and eat healthily -- the disease will strike some of the best of us.
MRI is increasingly being recommended as a complimentary screening tool, especially to find invasive tumors.
Don't call Nancy Sher Cohen at home after 8:30 p.m. "One of two things is usually true," the 54-year-old-litigator said. "Either I am asleep, because I am exhausted [from all the work], or I am out because I am working."
Letters to the Editor
The fictional Carrie Bradshaw saw her image on a bus placard because she wrote a popular sex column. But Carol Taubman sees her image go by each day on the side of MTA buses for a very different reason.
In the first moments after Lori Marx-Rubiner was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, several fears ran through her head. The Jewish community social worker, who was 35 at the time, wondered about her mortality and worried about the prospect of pain and nausea induced by treatment. However, her deepest concern centered on her then 3-year-old son, Zachary.
More information about health can only help -- even if the information isn't so positive.
That seems to be the lesson of a new study confirming that Ashkenazi Jewish women with particular genetic mutations have a high risk of contracting breast cancer.
Two days after her radical breast cancer surgery last May, Missy Stein hit that moment where all the emotional and physical implications of her condition came crashing in on her.
But then she remembered Sari Abrams' words.
"How do you explain breast cancer to your 3 1/2-year-old son?" asked Susan Cohen of Woodland Hills. "How does your spouse feel about becoming your caretaker?" These are some of the questions addressed at The Safe Spot. "The things we shared with other families [who] were on the same difficult journey as us," said Cohen, a USC professor and breast cancer survivor.
"Living Beyond Breast Cancer" is comprehensive; at more than 500 pages, it has the room to cover the spectrum of medical themes without neglecting the related emotional issues.