Psychosocial aspects of genetic testing for hereditary cancers meeting at Jefferson June 9-10

What is the likelihood of developing breast cancer if I have a family history? Should I have genetic testing? What are my options? Is surgery an effective choice? How can I help my children? What do I tell my health insurance company and my employer?

These are some of the questions confronting individuals who have a history of breast and ovarian cancer in the family and who are considered at risk. Genetics is revolutionizing the way medicine is practiced today and will be practiced in the next 5 to 10 years and beyond.

While the discovery and identification of BRCA1 and BRCA2 the so-called breast cancer genes ushered in a quiet revolution in genetic testing for hereditary cancer in the mid-1990s (doctors can now test for other cancers, such as two types of hereditary colorectal cancer HNPCC and FAP), the accompanying psychological and social issues have taken on new importance as well.

Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson are hosting a conference to address such issues. The 9th International Meeting on the Psychosocial Aspects of Genetic Testing for Hereditary Cancer will be held from Thursday, June 9, 2005 to Friday, June 10, 2005 at Jefferson Alumni Hall, 1020 Locust Street in Philadelphia.

One of the main purposes of the conference is not only to present up-to-date information on the psychosocial issues involved in genetic testing, but also to promote cross-cultural collaboration and communication, says conference organizer Kathryn M. Kash, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University.

Among the speakers and topics:

  • Judy Garber, M.D., director of the Cancer Risk and Prevention Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, will discuss counseling issues in hereditary cancer predisposition.
  • Radiation oncologist Marisa Weiss, M.D., foun


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