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Welcome to the BRCA Foundation’s Positive Perspectives -- an empowering and informative series of weekly conversations all about hereditary cancer. As part of this endeavor, we speak with survivors, "previvors," doctors, scientists, genetic counselors, and influencers, to both educate and normalize all experiences related to being a mutation carrier. We explore topics ranging from genetic testing and recovery after mastectomy, to cutting-edge therapies and prevention strategies.
Please note, some of these interviews are more scientifically dense than others and none of the information provided is intended to serve as a substitute for a conversation with your own medical practitioner. Similarly, the views and opinions expressed in this series do not represent those of the foundation, but only those of the interview subject. This series is intended to highlight the range of choices and reactions to what is an extremely personal matter.
: Stanford's Dr. Allison Kurian discusses the intersection of big data and clinical care. Dr. Kurian shares how she approaches questions that can only be answered with huge datasets, how she’s working to increase access to clinically-relevant information and what she thinks are some of the biggest limitations to interacting with this “fire hose” of new data. To learn more about Dr. Kurian's work, visit Allison Kurian's Stanford profile
and to check out the BRCA tool, visit Stanford's BRCA Tool
: Our fifth positive perspective comes from Harvey Singer, and we spoke via telephone. He is a BRCA2 mutation carrier, co-founder of HIS Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation
, and author of the book, "Sir, you have breast cancer!" We discuss Harvey’s personal story of breast cancer and what it was like to interact with both social and medical communities that were not prepared for a man with breast cancer...
: Our fourth guest is Amy Byer Shainman, a BRCA mutation carrier and social media hereditary cancer awareness advocate known as "The BRCA Responder." After a close family member was diagnosed with multiple separate cancers at a young age, Amy discovered that she was BRCA positive, and opted immediately for risk-reducing surgeries. We’ll discuss her upcoming memoir, her work with the documentary "Pink and Blue: Colors of Hereditary Cancer," and her never-ending quest to spread the word and to respond. If you want to follow Amy's work and upcoming memoir, "Resurrection Lily," learn more at thebrcaresponder.blogspot.com
Episode 3: Dorene Kastelman, stage 4 ovarian cancer survivor, and advocate for hereditary cancer families, shares the story of her initial diagnosis, the ensuing months of uncertainty, and her eventual participation in a clinical trial exploring the efficacy of PARP inhibitor treatment. She also discusses how her diagnosis affected her family. Four years after her initial diagnosis, Dorene is busy enjoying a full life that includes a lot of travel and fun with her family.
Episode 2: Lauren Ryan, MS., LGC, genetic counselor at Color, sat down with the BRCA Foundation to cover the basic genetics of hereditary cancer, the pipeline from spit sample to genetic report, and the wide range of reactions when some people learn about their genetic predispositions to cancer.
Episode 1: Evan Goldberg, Chairman, President and Director of the BRCA Foundation, discusses his motivation for launching a 21st century hereditary cancer foundation, and how the BRCA Foundation is well-positioned to incorporate the power of big data into cancer research.