Forum to Offer Strategies for High-Risk Patients



NorthShore patient Caryn Engle with
husband Andy and son Sammy

Caryn Engle knew she had a strong family history of breast cancer. Her dad’s mother died at the age of 41, and his grandmother passed away at 36 from the disease.

At the age of 35, Engle had genetic testing at NorthShore and learned she had the BRCA 1 gene mutation that can predispose a person to breast and ovarian cancer. In fact, physicians told her she had an “extremely high risk” of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer.

Engle had preventive surgeries for both diseases about three years ago, and at 38, feels grateful she knew her options. She believes that learning about her BRCA status became “a great opportunity—one that women in earlier generations were not lucky enough to have.”

So passionate about getting the word out to other individuals and their families, Engle and other volunteers raised funds last year to sponsor a workshop, scheduled for April 6, where nine NorthShore medical specialists will come together to discuss “LIFE as a Pre-Vivor,” a forum for individuals diagnosed with BRCA and other breast and ovarian cancer predisposition genes.

The experts will address strategies to identify, manage, monitor and treat individuals who carry predisposition genes for breast and ovarian cancer. Topics will include genetic testing, screening guidelines, surgical options, chemo-prevention and lifestyle suggestions.

Engle is on the executive committee for the Myra Rubenstein Weis (MRW) Leadership Board, which is sponsoring the event. Myra Rubenstein Weis lived for 10 years after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Her family has honored her life since 1990 by sponsoring benefits to fund the Living in the Future (LIFE) Cancer Survivorship Program. The LIFE as a Pre-Vivor workshop demonstrates the power of genomics and education to help prevent and find options for patients who may be at high risk.

Engle said learning about her genetic makeup was really difficult, but she made decisions she felt were right for her. “I’m relieved that I had the surgeries. I was scared, but I’m fortunate to have had a choice to make. It wasn’t easy, but I felt educated, strong and empowered.”

To register for the free forum—which will be held from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. on April 6, 2017—please visit northshore.org/mrw-life-previvor or call 847.926.5818 for more information.

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