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Fox Chase Cancer Center Offers Education Sessions to Address Jewish Concerns About Cancer

PHILADELPHIA (March 18, 1999) -- Jewish women and men who are concerned about their risk of cancer as a result of their Ashkenazic heritage can receive information and counseling at Fox Chase Cancer Center. Ongoing research shows that Jews of Ashkenazic descent (about 80 percent of the world's Jewish population) are somewhat more likely to inherit specific genetic variations that increase susceptibility to cancers of the breast, ovary and prostate gland.

Only 5 to 10 percent of all breast cancers are believed to result from inherited factors. The majority of this percentage can be traced to changes in two genes. Since these altered genes were the first to be linked with an increased risk of breast cancer, they are called Breast Cancer 1 and Breast Cancer 2--BRCA1 and BRCA2.

Normally these two genes function to suppress tumors, but the altered forms increase the risk of both breast and ovarian cancer in women. BRCA1 also increases the risk of prostate cancer in men.

With support from the National Cancer Institute, Fox Chase is working to identify the precise molecular changes in these genes that lead to cancer in the Jewish population. The study also aims to learn the best ways to educate Jewish men and women about their cancer risk.

Education sessions are scheduled regularly in response to demand. Participants can learn about opportunities to take part in clinical studies and to receive genetic testing and counseling if desired.

To learn more about the risks of breast and ovarian cancers and to sign up for an educational program, please call Christine Harrop-Stein at 215-728-3672.

For information about prostate-cancer risk and educational programs, call Loretta Bagden at 215-728-2406.

Fox Chase Cancer Center is one of 35 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the nation. The Center's activities include basic and clinical research, prevention, detection and treatment of cancer and community outreach programs.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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