Breast cancer 
gene checks available next week

Over three days next week, women of various nationalities in the Cayman Islands can avail of free screenings that will determine if they have a mutated gene that gives them a predisposition for breast and ovarian cancer. 

The checks are available for women who have breast or ovarian cancer or who are survivors of the diseases. 

Anyone who wants to take part should contact the Cayman Islands Cancer Society to make an appointment.  

This is the second time the screenings are being done by the Cancer Society in Cayman. Last year, tests of about 30 women of Caymanian descent were done. The results of those showed that none of the women, all of whom were cancer patients or survivors, had the mutated BRCA 1 or 2 gene that can lead to cancer. 

Since that screening was from a small sample, oncologist and researcher Dr. Judith Hurley from the University of Miami Health System now wants to expand the checks, in the hope that more Caymanian women will come forward, as well as women from Jamaica, Barbados, Dominica and Trinidad and Tobago. 

Dr. Hurley was earlier involved in a study in the Bahamas of the prevalence of the BRCA 1 and 2 genes, which showed that 23 per cent of women there had the mutated genes. 

This time, Dr. Hurley will again be accompanied by geneticist Talia Donenberg, who will speak with the women who volunteer to take the test about the impact of the results. 

All the tests are free of charge and are non-invasive, involving a simple saliva check in which the women will spit into a small container, which will then be sent to a laboratory in Canada for DNA testing. Dr. Hurley is carrying out similar studies in Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica and Barbados.  

Women who are found to have the mutated gene are 70 per cent chance of developing ovarian cancer. 


To find out more about the free screenings or to make an appointment, call 949-7618 or email [email protected] 

The checks are available for women who have breast or ovarian cancer or who are survivors of the diseases.