“It’s so easy, I feel like I’m getting away with something.” That’s how Nella Smolinksi describes the last three years of treatment with an immunotherapy drug to control her rare form of Hodgkin lymphoma.
Aging increases cancer risks in our bodies in several ways. The older we are, the higher the proportion we acquire of cells with mutations. And these cells create populations of high risk for recruiting cancer-initiating cells.
BRCA1 and BRCA2 are tumor suppressor genes, meaning when they function normally their job is to keep tumors from forming. Some people however, have an altered or mutated copy of the gene and certain mutations are associated with an increased risk for several cancer types, including breast, ovarian, prostate, pancreatic, melanoma, and in some families, colorectal.