In 2013, Judy Korn was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 59. Six years later, her same twin, Reie Moss, received the same news.
The Melbourne-based pair participated in a major new study conducted by the University of Melbourne-based Twins Research Australia (TRA). This study attempts to explain why only one twin in a pair develops breast cancer, or if both twins are diagnosed. One twin will do so sooner.
Judy and Reie share their story to encourage other twins to participate in the study.
“We were able to support each other through some very dark times,” Raie said. “When we realized we could help others to help each other, we jumped at the opportunity.”
By understanding the differences between twin breast cancers, researchers hope to find new insights into how lifestyle factors can protect against breast cancer.
“The twins have contributed to significant advances in women’s breast cancer research over the last two decades, revealing better ways to predict risk and improve screening,” said lead researcher and TRA director John Hopper. Said.
“By studying twin pairs, we identified the first gene, called LSP1, that affects both mammography density and breast cancer risk. A new epigenetic risk factor for breast cancer is determined in the uterus. And discovered a new technique for interpreting mammography that identifies women at high risk of developing breast cancer. “
Professor Hopper said the new study aims to identify factors that predict breast cancer risk, especially in prepubertal and adolescents.
“This study takes advantage of the twins’ unique insights into each other, especially when they are young and living together,” he said.
The Australian study is part of an international collaboration co-led by researchers at the University of Southern California and funded by the National Institutes of Health (USA). The results of the study are expected to contribute to improving breast cancer prevention strategies around the world.
A pair of female twins of the same sibling who are 18 years of age or older and one or both of whom have been diagnosed with breast cancer are invited to participate. This study includes the first online study and, in some cases, the collection of digital mammograms and blood or saliva samples later.
Eligible twins can register for participation at twins.org.au/research/current-studies for more information.