Family Connections: Understanding the Genetics of Disease
Last fall, Middlebury resident Paula Connolly attended a community education program at the Leever Cancer Center. The topic: the genetics of breast cancer. Some 3,000 miles away in Dublin, Ireland, Paula’s sister, Helen, was also engaged in a bit of genetic discovery. One of their cousins, Margaret (whose mom and sister died in their early forties), determined she would explore the possibility that faulty genes might be at the heart of the family’s common diagnosis; and she asked her Aunt Kathleen (who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 76) if she would be willing to participate in genetic testing. Kathleen’s results revealed a BRCA 2 gene mutation.