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ORAU Supports CDC's Know:BRCA Education Initiative

ORAU supports development of interactive tool that collects detailed personal and family history of breast and ovarian cancer

Know:BRCA logoWomen with a BReast CAncer (BRCA) susceptibility gene mutation face a significantly higher risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer than women who do not have a mutation.

Women with a confirmed BRCA gene mutation can take actions to reduce their risk of developing cancer. Without intervention, women with a BRCA gene mutation are seven times more likely to get breast cancer and 30 times more likely to get ovarian cancer before age 70 than other women.

In response to this public health concern, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Cancer Prevention and Control (DCPC) and Bright Pink received crucial support from ORAU in the development of the Know:BRCA clinical decision support tool.

Know:BRCA is an interactive tool that collects a detailed personal and family history of breast and ovarian cancer. It uses the BRCAPRO statistical model to analyze family history and inform young women if their family history is associated with increased risk for a BRCA gene mutation. These results can then be shared securely with their health care providers. Know:BRCA is fully HIPAA compliant and results can be downloaded directly into electronic medical records. With this vital information, young women and providers can work together to decide next steps, which may include: genetic counseling and testing, screening, and other steps to reduce risk.

The Know:BRCA website includes information specifically designed for young women. It aims to educate young women about their risk for BRCA gene mutations and hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and the evidence-based actions they can take to reduce their risk. There is also a provider site that aims to educate medical providers on cancer genomics, clinical guidelines for BRCA risk assessment and referral, and how to use Know:BRCA to enhance their practice.

The ORAU team built Know:BRCA using next generation computer programming techniques. The site can be viewed easily on any computer, tablet, or other mobile device; this convenience is a key factor for the target audience of women, ages 18 to 45.

CDC DCPC released Know:BRCA to the public in May. Since its release, KnowBRCA has been promoted by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Women’s Health (OWH), American Association of Clinical Chemistry, Healthy Delaware, and numerous breast cancer organizations including Living Beyond Breast Cancer and Sharsheret.Know:BRCA also received a favorable review in the New England Journal of Medicine from Andrew M. Kaunitz, MD, editor-in-chief NEJM Journal Watch Women’s Health.

The ORAU team will continue to support CDC by helping to market Know:BRCAthrough a fall digital media campaign. Targeting young women with a family history of breast cancer and Ashkenazi Jewish young women, the campaign encourages young women to learn their family history of breast cancer and use the Know:BRCA tool to assess their risk for a BRCA gene mutation.

ORAU is assisting CDC with conducting research and developing advertisements and promotional materials.