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Polygence Scholar2022
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Sophie Goldstein

Mainland Regional High SchoolClass of 2024Margate, New Jersey



  • "If you are a carrier of the BRCA mutation, can certain lifestyle factors reduce your risk of getting cancer? (Stress, diet, exercise)" with mentor Briana (Dec. 22, 2022)

Sophie's Symposium Presentation

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If you are a carrier of the BRCA mutation, can certain lifestyle factors reduce your risk of getting cancer? (Stress, diet, exercise)

Started June 16, 2022

Abstract or project description

Breast Cancer is a fast spreading disease where cells in the breast grow into a dangerous tumor. 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer, about 250,000 of those women are under the age of 40. Although the exact cause of breast cancer is unknown, possible causes could be genetics, lifestyle factors, diet, etc. Alcohol is the most common cause of cancer because ethanol and acetaldehyde cause DNA to replicate incorrectly. Additionally, if someone is overweight, they have a higher chance of getting breast cancer at an older age because their estrogen levels are higher than others. Oral contraceptives and other birth control can increase risk for breast cancer because of hormone levels as well. Lastly, stress can cause cancer due to the response humans have to stress. For example, stress makes people want to eat more or drink more alcohol which can increase risk of getting cancer.

As aforementioned, genetics can account for a proportion of breast cancer diagnosis. Specifically, a person who has inherited a mutated BRCA gene has a 70% chance of getting breast cancer before the age of 80. This chance is about 53% higher than non-carriers. Everybody is born with one BRCA gene per parent (BRCA1 and BRCA2) which help fight possible cancer genes in one’s DNA. However, if one of these genes are abnormal, they could actually cause cancer instead of fighting off possible cancer genes. These mutated genes are called tumor suppressor genes and cause people to develop breast cancer at a relatively young age. Since we are aware that lifestyle factors play a role in the initiation of breast cancer, the crux of my review paper is to determine if lifestyle interventions such as stress relief, diet, and exercise can reduce a BRCA1/2 mutation carrier’s risk of getting breast cancer.