With so many women concerned about the possibility of inherited breast or ovarian cancer, Macmillan Cancer Support launched “OPERA” (On-line Personal Education and Risk Assessment) – the first United Kingdom on-line interactive software program which gives personalized information regarding a woman’s risk with respect to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Macmillan Cancer Support is based in London, England and merged with Cancerbackup in April 2008.
Dr Andrea Pithers, Genetic Information Project Manager at Macmillan Cancer Support, says: “By simply typing in some details of your family medical history, OPERA can provide personalised information and advice on whether there might be an inherited genetic link and where to go for further information and support.”
Upon the OPERA launch, Mike Richards, the United Kingdom Government’s National Cancer Director said: “This is an important resource for all those who have concerns over breast and ovarian cancer in their family. For many it will provide reassurance that the risk is not as high as they feared. For others it will provide the information which prompts them to see their GP [General Practitioner] and get tested for the BRCA gene or to be referred appropriately for further genetic assessment.”
Jan Buckle discovered that she inherited a BRCA gene mutation after her sister died of breast cancer and her mother was diagnosed with the same disease. She had her ovaries removed and a double mastectomy with reconstructive surgery as a preventative measure against developing cancer herself. When asked to comment about OPERA, Jan said: “OPERA will be very useful for families like mine, and those who are worried that inherited breast and ovarian cancer runs in their family. It was really important for me to know the risks and to find out if I had the gene so I could make informed decisions on how to prevent breast and ovarian cancer occurring. Knowing your risk from inherited breast or ovarian cancer and getting good advice on what to do is much better than burying your head in the sand and just hoping that you don’t get breast cancer. I urge anyone who has any concerns to go on-line and try OPERA out for themselves.”
For additional resources regarding hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, click on the “Genetics” caption tab located at the top of the H*O*P*E* homepage.
[Source: “Macmillan Cancer Support launch on-line personalised assessment for risk of inherited breast or ovarian cancer,” Macmillian Cancer Support Press Release dated April 23, 2008.]