DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. -- Chabad of the Rivertowns is hosting a lecture on genetic testing and preventative cancer measures on Monday, Oct. 28.
The group is partnering with the Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the free lecture starting at 8 p.m. at Chabad of the Rivertowns in Dobbs Ferry, according to a press release. The class is titled “An Ounce of Prevention: BRCA, Genetic Testing, and Preventive Measures," according to the release.
"The risk of carrying a BRCA gene mutation that causes breast and ovarian cancer is ten times greater among women of Ashkenazi Jewish descent than among the general population," representatives wrote in the release. "With growing concern over what preventive measures Jewish women should take, the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) in conjunction with Chabad of the Rivertowns in Dobbs Ferry is organizing a community awareness workshop on how Jewish law views this modern day medical dilemma."
The class is set to "explore the biblical requirement to safeguard one’s health, and whether it obligates Jews of Ashkenazi descent to test for BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 gene mutations," according to the release.
"Even more importantly, it will discuss whether Jewish law recommends women to undergo radical mastectomies or oophorectomies in case they do test positive, in order to save their lives," representatives wrote in the release. "It is the first class of a new six-week course, titled Life in the Balance, about the Jewish perspective on everyday medical dilemmas. The course is accredited for Continuing Medical and Legal Education, and can help medical professionals develop a greater sensitivity to the concerns and decisions facing some of their Jewish patients."
Dr. Wendy Rubinstein, director of the National Institute of Health’s genetic testing registry said that testing all women of Ashkenazi Jewish descent would "save 2,800 lives a year and be extremely cost-effective despite the relatively high cost of testing," according to the release.
“Statistics like these are leaving women in the Jewish community with some tough decisions to make,” said JLI Rabbi Benjy Silverman in the release. “Some are reluctant to get tested, worried about the medical and financial repercussions, and the prospect of facing radical surgeries that could affect their self-image or ability to have children. Having to face decisions of such complexity has led many women to avoid addressing the issue altogether. But with mortality rates so high, this is hardly a problem the Jewish community can afford to ignore.”