‘Anger into activism’: One woman’s quest to raise awareness of BRCA mutations in Jewish populations

Lauren Corduck Family Friends
Lauren Corduck surrounded by family and friends just after getting her head preemptively shaved shortly after starting chemo. Image credit: Cara Soulia Photography

You don’t have to be Jewish to inherit one of the BRCA gene mutations. But these mutations, which increase the risk of adult-onset breast, ovarian, prostate and other cancers, disproportionately injure Jewish people.

[Lauren Corduck] quickly learned that she had a risky mutation and Stage 4 ovarian cancer, prompting rigorous treatment, terror and anger.

Despite her ethnic background, as well as incidents of breast cancer on her father’s side of the family, none of Ms. Corduck’s physicians had mentioned her high risk. If they had, she could have learned of the mutation earlier.

[A]t 46 years old she was tackling metastases as far away from her abdomen as a lymph node near her collarbone.

Channeling her anger into activism, Ms. Corduck established the nonprofit organization Oneinforty. Through its awareness campaign, symposia, medical professional development sessions and the provision of emotional support, Oneinforty informs the public of the relatively high risk for Jews and encourages people with at least one Ashkenazi grandparent to consider genetic counseling and, when appropriate, testing — either through a blood test or a newer saliva home testing kit.

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“Half of the people with a BRCA mutation have no known family history of the BRCA cancers,” Ms. Corduck said. “Physicians who are not offering testing to patients need to be educated and patients should be proactive on their own behalf.”

Read full, original post: Raising Awareness of BRCA Mutations

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