Breast cancer forum in Bendigo today

MORGAN Murphy will speak about genetics and family history at today’s Bendigo Breast Cancer Support Services Network forum.

Mr Murphy is a genetics nurse at Bendigo’s Peter MacCallum Familial Cancer Centre and will offer insight today about hereditary breast cancers.

The health and well-being forum will be at the Bendigo Club from 8.30am with the line-up of guest speakers including Mr Murphy, Otis Foundation founder Andrew Barling, health psychologist Jane Fletcher, former Cancer Council Victoria’s director of cancer information and support services Doreen Ackerman, and reconstructive surgeon Hamish Farrow.

Mr Murphy said Bendigo’s Familial Cancer Centre offered support to people who are concerned about their personal and family history of cancer.

“People come to us because they might have a lot of cases of cancer in their family, they might have cancers such as breast and ovarian and bowel cancer in clusters, it might be a young onset age ... So if someone’s concerned about their family history the question we sort of ask them is how many people in the family have had cancer, what type of cancer and what the age of diagnosis is.

“If those people have got concerns about their family history they can come to the familial cancer centre to get advice and to have risk assessment and discussion about risk management, screening and prevention for cancers.”

Mr Murphy described the majority of breast cancers as sporadic.

“Most breast cancers occur in women who are older, over the age of 50 and usually going through menopause of post menopause and aren’t related to a genetic, inherited predisposition.

“About 5 per cent of all breast cancers will be related to a genetic predisposition and the two genes that we know about are called Braca One and Braca Two.

“They cause a high, but not definite risk of developing cancer and are associated mainly with breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

“While it’s a small number of breast cancers for those families there’s a higher risk than the general population of developing those cancers in their lifetime.” Mr Murphy said breast removal was an option for some women. 

To make an appointment with the Peter MacCallum Familial Cancer Centre, phone 9656 1199.

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