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After cooking and eating the equivalent of many Thanksgiving meals from Rosh Hashanah through the holiday of Sukkot, the last thing I want to do is “Talk Turkey” or “Talk Any Type of Poultry.” Though in the spirit of the American idiom “Talk Turkey,” on this American holiday of Thanksgiving, we encourage you to serve up a great conversation that sheds light on your family history.
As we know, in the general population, 1 in 345 individuals carries a BRCA gene mutation. In the Ashkenazi Jewish population, 1 in 40 individuals carries a BRCA gene mutation. Loosen your belt, and just digest that for a moment. Jewish men and women of Ashkenazi descent are at 10x greater risk of carrying a BRCA gene mutation that increases the risk for hereditary breast cancer and ovarian cancer, and possibly skin, colon, pancreatic, and prostate cancers, too. Many adults are not aware of their own family medical history. Learning your family history can empower you to take action and share important health information with your loved ones.
Since 2004, Thanksgiving has been declared Family Health History Day by the Surgeon General. This national public campaign encourages all American families to learn more about their family health history. We encourage all families in our Jewish community to collect and share information about your family health history with one another. On a day that focuses on gratitude, we can be thankful that we live in a time where preventative healthcare is integrated into standard health practices.
So the next time you ask Grandma to pass the turkey, have her include a healthy side dish of family history.
Sharsheret is proud to have been awarded a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop and implement our program for young Jewish breast cancer survivors, Thriving Again®. This grant was part of a larger CDC initiative to address breast cancer in young women. Since 2011, Sharsheret’s Founder and Executive Director, Rochelle Shoretz, has served on the Federal Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer in Young Women, along with representatives from other major breast cancer organizations, supporting the development of national resources and awareness of the Jewish population’s unique role in the conversation about breast cancer.
The CDC recently announced the launch of Know: BRCA, an initiative and web-based resource designed to promote BRCA gene mutation awareness in young women. 1 in 40 Ashkenazi Jews carries a BRCA gene mutation, compared to 1 in 345 in the general population, making Jewish families 10 times more likely to develop hereditary breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and related cancers. This CDC initiative brings Sharsheret another step closer to achieving our goals of enhancing awareness about the impact of BRCA gene mutations, the elevated risk of developing hereditary cancer among Jewish families, and the need for tailored support for the more than 250,000 women under 40 living with breast cancer in the United States today.
If you have a family history of cancer, or a BRCA gene mutation, call Sharsheret at 866.474.2774 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to speak with a member of our clinical staff and join our Genetics for Life® program.
© 2014 Sharsheret: Your Jewish Community Facing Breast Cancer
Sharsheret is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization ID# 13-4198529
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