Multi National Research Project to Evaluate Genetic Risk in Caribbean Women with Breast or Ovarian Cancer

A multi-national research project has begun in Dominica, to evaluate the genetic risk in Caribbean women with breast or ovarian cancer.

It involves women who have been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer, or both in Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Bahamas, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Canada and the United States.

Dr. Hedda Dyer Francis , a  general surgeon, with an interest in breast surgical oncology,  is one of the assistants of the project and says its aim is to determine whether there is a genetic predisposition of women of African descent to develop these sorts of cancers.

When there is such a strong history of breast cancer, these women are advised to get genetic testing along with counseling beforehand.

A genetic panel is then done on them and their family members to see what is their calculated risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer.

The testing will involve taking a saliva sample from these women and it is hoped that there is a common link between them, and that in the near future there will be a way of testing Afro women and their risk of developing either breast or ovarian cancer.

All women who have been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer, at any point in their life, are asked to come forth to give that saliva sample.

Dr. Dyer Francis is advocating for a National Cancer Registry to be able to provide accurate information on the number of women in Dominica who have breast or ovarian cancer.

In February of 2012 a research project entitled ‘Improving early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer in the Commonwealth of Dominica’ which showed that between women of the ages 25 to 44, breast cancer was the second most common cause of mortality.

Dr. Dyer Francis says this is a pattern that is seen across the Caribbean, simply because of late detection and diagnosis, and sometimes a late presentation of breast cancer.

The project is being funded by the Susan G Komen Foundation based in the United States and will run through to August 24th 2013.

A team will arrive in Dominica on October 10th to assist with the project.

There will also be a cancer awareness walk and then a rally on Saturday October 6th from 3pm from Massacre or Pointe Michel to the Windsor Park Sports Stadium, in teams or alone.

© 2012 SAT Telecommunications Ltd.

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