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Movie screening to benefit the familial ovarian cancer registry at Roswell Park

by jmaloni

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Wed, Sep 18th 2013 11:00 am

Buffalo native and movie director Steven Bernstein returns to Buffalo

Western New Yorkers are invited to attend a special screening of the film "Decoding Annie Parker" on Thursday, Sept. 26, with partial proceeds benefiting the Familial Ovarian Cancer Registry at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. The film's director, Steven Bernstein, is a Buffalo native who will return to Western New York for the film's screening prior to its nationwide release. Funds from the event will also support BRCA Gene Awareness Inc.

"Decoding Annie Parker," starring Helen Hunt, tells the true story of two remarkable women: Berkley-based geneticist Dr. Mary Claire King and Annie Parker (played by Samantha Morton), each touched by hereditary breast cancer in her own way. Parker battles the disease, while King's genetic research leads to the discovery of the BRCA1 breast cancer gene.

Women who have inherited mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes face a much higher risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer compared with the general population. King's discovery changed the way many in the medical community approached breast cancer, and provided solace to families who, generation after generation, lost their mothers, wives and daughters to the disease.

The show will take place at the Dipson Theater in Amherst. Bernstein and Annie Parker, the patient the movie portrays, will be among the crowd at the screening. In addition, following the screening, attendees can participate in a special Q-and-A with cancer experts in the field.

"BRCA1 or 2 mutations account for about 20 percent to 25 percent of hereditary breast cancers and about 5 percent to 10 percent of all breast cancers. These mutations are also estimated to account for 15 percent of ovarian cancers," said Ermelinda Bonaccio, M.D., director of the mammography center and assistant professor of the department of diagnostic radiology at RPCI.

"It is important to educate people about these mutations because those who carry the BRCA1 or 2 gene do have options available to manage their risk. Bringing this screening to Buffalo aids in further educating our community about the significance of these genetic links," said Bonaccio, who will be moderating the Q-and-A after the movie screening.

Roswell Park Cancer Institute is home to an ovarian cancer registry - the largest collection of family histories, medical records and blood samples in the world - which is used to further understand the genetic basis of ovarian cancer so that new treatment and prevention strategies can be developed.

For more information and tickets, visit https://www.roswellpark.org/calendar/decoding-annie-parker-movie-screening.

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