The news that actress Angelina Jolie chose to undergo a double mastectomy to prevent breast cancer, for which she has a strong genetic tendency, puts a spotlight on the conversation about genetic testing. For local women and men who want to know more, Boca Raton Regional Hospital has announced the Eugene M. & Christine E. Lynn Cancer Institute has created the Morgan Pressel Center for Cancer Genetics, a program designed to ascertain an individual’s risk for developing certain cancers that have strong hereditary links.

“With the establishment of the Center, I have the opportunity to help raise awareness for families who may be predisposed to an inherited cancer,” said Morgan, the LPGA star who lost her mother to breast cancer. “With the early assessment and preventive strategies that the Center provides, we can give those at high risk the knowledge and choices they need to stay healthy.

Current medical research has shown that while many cancers have multiple risk factors, there are hereditary malignancies that result from genetic mutations. These hereditary forms are most often recognized by a cancer diagnosis at a young age, above average family history of cancer and specific combinations of cancers in a family tree or certain ancestry groups, according to a hospital press release.

“Every family that faces cancer wonders how it will affect their children, brothers, sisters and future generations,” said Louise Morrell, M.D., Medical Director of the Lynn Cancer Institute and member of the Center’s genetics assessment team. “With advances in hereditary cancer genetics, combined with the expertise we have assembled at the Pressel Center, it will be possible to answer that question and to even change the risk for a growing number of cancer diagnoses.”

According to Dr. Morrell, patients with certain indicators or histories should consider genetic testing and evaluation. These include: multiple breast cancers in a family, diagnosis under age 50 or being of Eastern European Jewish ancestry (Ashkenazi), personal history of ovarian cancer, colon or uterine cancer under age 50, male breast cancer, greater than 10 colon polyps, increased pancreatic cancer in the same family and multiple family members with melanoma, especially under age 50.

In other news…

Boca Raton Regional Hospital will be hitting the ground running, as it presents the second annual Eugene M. & Christine E. Lynn Cancer Institute (LCI) ‘Run for the Ribbons.’

When: Sunday, June 2, 2013 at 7:00 a.m.

What: A 5k walk/run, starting at the Harvey & Phyllis Sandler Pavilion (701 NW 13th Street, Boca Raton)

Why: Proceeds benefit the League of Ribbons, which supports Lynn Cancer Institute

Cost: $25 until 5/29. $30 after 5/29. $10 ages under 18. Boca Raton Regional Hospital employees get $5 discount
For more information: call 561.955.4501, email Darci McNally at DMcNally@brrh.com, or go to http://www.brrh.com/Run_for_The_Ribbons.aspx

About Lisette:

Lisette Hilton, president of Words Come Alive, has had the luxury of reporting on health, fitness and other hot topics for more than 23 years. The long-time Boca Raton resident, University of Florida graduate and fitness buff writes for local, regional and national publications and websites. Find out more on www.wordscomealive.com.