Event brings cancer survivors and researchers together

Cancer survivors and researchers in the field came together last week in an event hosted by the Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes.

The monthly forum connects cancer survivors with student researchers at Cornell University, an event that Bob Riter, the center’s executive director, said is, “very much an experiment.”

The presenter was Claire Anderson, who recently ended her tenure as a research technician at the Weiss Lab at Cornell University. She presented some of her research into cancer genetics and the implications of genetic testing to a group of fellow researchers as well as cancer survivors.

Specifically, Anderson discussed the BRCA gene, which has been associated with breast cancer.

“They have been associated with breast cancer because it tends to be the first cancer that shows up when they’re mutated,” Anderson said.

The BRCA gene has popped up in the news lately when film actress Angelina Jolie got a double masectomy.

“Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy because she found out that she was a carrier of a mutation in the gene BRCA 1, which conferred for an 87 percent risk of developing breast cancer by the age of 80,” she said.

Compare that with the average American woman who has a 10 to 12 percent risk of developing breast cancer.

To learn more about Anderson’s work, as well as the work of the Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes, visit crcfl.org

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