BRCA: Hi all, I just wanted to let those that... - My Ovacome

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BRCA

ZenaJ profile image

Hi all, I just wanted to let those that have been following know that my daughter and one of my sisters has been confirmed as not carrying the BRCA gene. That's good news for them.

My son and half sister aren't going to be tested but there's nothing I can do about that. One niece is still awaiting her results but I think she'll be okay.

I wasn't asked to do a survey but when my daughter filled hers in it mentioned Polish or Jewish in the family. Does anyone know why it's more likely you'll have the gene if you if have Jewish or Polish parents?

I was adopted but I now know my father was Polish.

Happy New Year everyone and hope you are all doing as well as possible.

Love Zena xx

18 Replies

Hi Zena Good news indeed for your family members. I'm aware if you are of a certain Jewish ancestry then you are likely to carry the mutated gene but that's as far as my knowledge goes. My BRAC gene came through my mother's line, not aware I have any jewish ancestry down the line and whether that had any bearing on our genes. Hope you are doing ok. Kathy xx

ZenaJ profile image
ZenaJ in reply to Katmal-UK

Thanks Kathy, all okay here. Gained a few pounds over Christmas which I'm not happy about but I've no one to blame but myself. Hope all aokay with you. Let's hope we have a good year. xxx

Hello Zena,

I think if you are from the Ashkenazi Jewish line (mainly Eastern European Jews) you have a higher risk of carrying the faulty gene. My father was a Polish Jew and I am BRCA2 positive. He came to England as a WW2 kinder transport child aged 13. He died when I was two years old and therefore we never knew anything about this faulty gene until after I was diagnosed with OC and researched online. The irony is my father died of pancreatic cancer aged 40. I went to my GP about six years ago to discuss whether there may be a hereditary risk to myself and my brother but my GP said no. Of course neither she nor I were aware that my father was probably an Ashkenazi Jew and that I could carry the faulty gene. Last year after diagnosis of OC and genetic testing I found I was.

Take care,

Sticky77 x

ZenaJ profile image
ZenaJ in reply to sticky3006

Sounds a bit like me. My father came over in WW2 aged 13 but went on to live a long life and died of lung cancer. I wonder if they knew each other? I didn't get the chance to meet him or my mother but I have since met one of my sisters.

When I asked if there was any chance my cancer was hereditary I was told no but didn't know about the BRCA gene at the time. It was only reading posts here that I heard about it and asked for the test. It turned out I was BRCA2.

I don't know if one expert thinks another expert has given information and so doesn't tell you themselves but it seems there's a lot of things I didn't find out until joining these lovely ladies.

Considering I was diagnosed in 2013 I'm still finding out things.

Take care, Zena xx

Dear Zena,

It’s not any Polish persons, but Polish Jews, or any of the Ashkenazy Jews, Whether from the Ukraine or anywhere in Russia, or Lithuania or just about any persons of Jewish decent from Eastern Europe.

Your biggest problem in the UK, is that many immigrant Jews chose to hide their Jewishness, because, believe it or not, there is a lot of anti Semitism here, which was probably much worse in the 20th century.

I have several friends my age, who had a Jewish parent, but we’re raised Church of England and they only found out their mother or father was Jewish after their parents had passed away.

I think it is important to ask all women over 40 if they have Jewish heritage, but it doesn’t help if you don’t know you are or you were adopted.

Not all Ashkenazy Jews carry the mutation, but it is a significant factor.

For instance, my father died at 43 from a brain tumour, unrelated to the mutation they tell me, but my mother was tested after one of my sisters and myself tested positive, but she and my other sister, as well as my brother, are negative.

My daughter has tested positive also and will be undergoing all the risk reduction surgery the NHS has to offer.

Hope this helps a bit,

Laura

Maus123 profile image
Maus123 in reply to Lindaura

Good luck for her surgery!

Lindaura profile image
Lindaura in reply to Maus123

We are so lucky they take this so seriously and offer it all to us.

ZenaJ profile image
ZenaJ in reply to Lindaura

That's really interesting Laura. I managed to get my father's war records last year and it says he was Roman Catholic but there's nothing to say he wasn't fibbing. I wish I could trace the Polish side of my family. I believe my father had quite a few siblings who could have produced children if they managed to survive the war.

Sorry to hear about your daughter. My daughter had decided to go ahead with all the ops but luckily she won't have to now.

Best wishes, Zena xx

Zenaj, this site may answer some parts of your question.

jewishgenetics.org/cjg/Jewi...

The site is generally a good one with easily understood explanations.

I think there were a lot of Jews who resided in Poland prior to the Shoah and imagine many Jews converted or hid their identity due to anti Semitism. Also some intermixing likely happened as well. I know that friends of mine underwent genetic testing even though one was a Jew with Ukraine heritage marrying a Christian from the Ukraine. There was a concern about Tay-Sachs due to Jews and Christians in the Ukraine intermarrying and original religious affiliations of Christians not always being straight forward (again due to conversions and just plain hiding of ancestry). Interestingly Tay-Sachs also appears in the Irish. I like to think that this points to diversity as a positive pursuit rather than tribalism.

ZenaJ profile image
ZenaJ in reply to RonLitBer

Thanks for the link. I've checked it out. I had a DNA test through one of the ancestry sites last year and it showed a high percentage of Eastern European and Polish. The more I'm reading the more I'm thinking my father may have been Jewish. This doesn't bother me at all but I just wish I could find out for certain and now he's died (and I never met him anyway) there's no way of finding out. My sister doesn't know anything. She didn't even know he was 'Roman Catholic' until I told her and she lived with him for over 50 years. It's a shame but if I could only get his birth certificate I'd be on my way.

Thanks for replying. Best wishes, Zena

Historically, Ashkenazi Jewish People have had smaller pools of marriageable partners. They are more likely to inherit mutations which make them vulnerable. Knowing this in advance can warn them to be vigilant regarding symptoms which one might otherwise dismiss.

Sadly, not having BRCA does not protect a person from getting cancer. It presents a false sense of security. Genetic testing has a down side. I am not BRCA+ or Ashkenazi but I've now had both breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Those WITH the gene may have more treatment options. They can also alert their children. Those without the gene still may get cancer. After getting genetic testing in 2006 I was told that my chance of getting OC was so minute it wasn't statistically pertinent, so I did NOT have a TAH. Nine years later I was diagnosed with 3C OC.

In terms of treatment for OC, there appear to be more effective treatment options for BRCA+ OC patients. This is wonderful. The genetic testing conundrum is undiscovered mutations which cause cancer. It's akin to the tip of the ice berg we see vs the body of undiscovered potential harm as yet unidentified.

ZenaJ profile image
ZenaJ in reply to Tesla_7US

I completely agree with everything you've said. Thanks for the reply.

Best wishes, Zena xx

Zena--my understanding is that it relates to location. The theory (I believe) is that long ago, communities were smaller and offspring were from a smaller pool of people, so it became more prevalent in those populations. I hear the same for other other populations who are from the same general area(s) way back when. Here is an excerpt from an article about Ashkenazi Jews --of which I am one (which applies to other nationalities/locations as well----the genetic testers know which):

Members of the Jewish community who trace their roots to Central or Eastern Europe are known as Ashkenazi Jews. Although today members of this community are found around the world, Ashkenazi Jews for centuries were a geographically isolated population. The isolation experienced by this population means its members can trace their ancestry back to a small number of members known as “founders.”

Over time, the genetic traits of these early Ashkenazi “founders” have been passed down through generations, including a greater frequency of carrying certain changes in genes known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, which are associated with an increased risk of cancer.

oxoxoxo Judy

ZenaJ profile image
ZenaJ in reply to Maxjor

Thanks Judy, I was just reading about this and I wish I could find my family but as I've said above but you may not have seen yet, my DNA test said I was mainly Eastern European and Polish with a bit of German. On my father's war records it says he was Roman Catholic but as one of my really helpful replies has said, a lot of Polish pretended they weren't Jewish during the war to escape and he was only 13 when he came to UK.

I certainly wouldn't worry me one bit if he were Jewish. I don't think this would have made me Jewish because my mother was English and not a Jew.

It's really interesting and thanks very much for your answer.

All the best, Zena xx

Maxjor profile image
Maxjor in reply to ZenaJ

Sorry Zena-I need to remember to read "all of the above" before responding. We're in the states and my two sons will need to be tested but with out lovely president trying to get "pre-existing conditions' taken out of insurance requirements (meaning they could be stuck with denial of health insurance) they do not want to be tested right now. I don't blame them but eventually they will have to. All the best to you too, Zena oxox

ZenaJ profile image
ZenaJ in reply to Maxjor

My son doesn't want to be tested either.

Don't worry about not reading all the answers. I don't always myself especially when there are a lot of them. When I reply I don't want to be influenced by other replies so I only ever read them afterwards.

I wish I was in the US at the moment. I love it there.

Thanks for all your help. Love Zena xx

Fab news!

They thought I was Jewish cause of my name and it’s common in Jewish women who have had lots of babies I was told ??

Hi Zena41,

I'm beginning to wonder if my father was Jewish. Now I've read what everyone has said, I know my father was about 14 when he came to England but it said on his war records he was Roman Catholic. One of the ladies told me a lot of children came over on the Kinder train from Poland/Germany and changed or told the authorities here they weren't Jewish because of anti-semitism. I'm trying to get his birth certificate which is proving very difficult. I also had a DNA test which said I'm Eastern European, Polish and German ancestry. Put all that together and it fits but it's proving it all.

Hope you are okay. I'm doing nothing but out for meals at the moment and gaining weight daily.

All the best, Zenaj. xxx

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