Know your risk of developing cancer
It’s a phrase that’s at the centre of everything Pink Hope stands for: ‘Know your risk, change your future’. And we can take for granted the idea that women, and men, understand what we’re talking about.
Knowing your risk is about getting to grips with your family health history, asking questions about the aunt who died when you were in primary school or the grandmother who had breast cancer. It’s all about understanding your inherited risk – high, moderate or low – of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
We always suspected that the majority of Australian women who are at increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer do not know. So we conducted a survey of over 1000 Australian women and 2 out of 3 admitted they do not know their risk. So while women “think” about their risk, they do not actually “know”.
If you’re reading this article, wondering how you could possibly “know”, it is simpler than you think. Pink Hope has partnered with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre to develop a lifesaving tool that can assess a woman’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer based on her family health history. The “Know your Risk tool” is for anyone and it takes five minutes to use – although you may need a little longer to have a chat with family members to ask questions about those family illnesses you never thought mattered.
The tool poses a series of questions about the prevalence of cancer in both men and women in your family, and whether any female family members have been found to carry the BRCA1 or 2 genes which are associated with cancer risk. The “Know your Risk” tool was developed within EviQ guidelines and you receive a summary of your risk when you’ve completed the questions. If you have a high or moderate risk this gives you a good starting point to have a conversation with your GP about your risk.
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Take Phillipa's lead and Know your risk! " I went to my mum, dad, aunts and uncles & asked about my family's health history. Now I feel in charge of my own health" – Phillipa #takecharge #knowyourrisk #changeyourrisk http://pinkhope.org.au/know-your-risk/ @pipnortheast @emmaandroe
For me, it was obvious that my risk was high – more than 20 women in my family have been diagnosed with breast and ovarian cancer including my gran and my mum. When I had the test for the BRCA gene mutation and it was positive, it broke my heart, but at the same time, it gave me options.
Knowledge is power
Knowledge is power, it’s a gift. Something many generations before us never had. I strongly believe that if Pink Hope empowers women with lifesaving information, they will be given more choices to ensure they are in charge of their own health.
This was something I personally struggled with largely alone all those years ago when I had no unique organisation that was there to help me every step of the way. I now have made it not only my personal mission but the mission of Pink Hope to find Australian women at increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer – there are 625,000 of us.
So, put down your phone, take the tool, share it and start a conversation about your family health history and if you need support, we have a genetic counsellor you can chat with and incredible programs and support services we provide along the way.
Be a part of the Pink Hope prevention movement and save lives! Donate here to the work we do.
Click here to read how Angelina Jolie “takes control” & explains her choice to remove her ovaries