HBOC: There’s an app for that ... and a word that's new to me

From the Learn Something New Every Day Department

A week from tomorrow, Wednesday, Sept. 29, is "National Previvor Day," and if you are anything like me when I learned of the designation, you are asking: "What is a previvor?"

From a press release received here this morning:

With the help of U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, The U.S. House of Representatives voted last Wednesday to designate the last week of September as "National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) Week" and September 29th as "National Previvor Day." Previvors are people who have not had cancer but possess a predisposition to developing it, often because they have one of the breast cancer gene mutations known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, or a strong family history with other risk factors.

Previvor: I'd never heard of the word before. A check with five of my long-time colleagues, wordsmiths all, revealed that none had heard of it either.

So an awareness day would certainly seem in order.

As for the iPhone app:

The Previvors iPhone app offers a simple 7-question quiz for women considering genetic testing for HBOC. The quiz guides them through the most common features of HBOC and alerts them if they might be predisposed to breast or ovarian cancer. If risk factors are identified, another benefit of the app is that it provides users access to contact information for doctors, other healthcare providers and mammography facilities.

The app can be downloaded here.

As an aside, this mulling of medical nomenclature brings to mind the reaction I had to news reports over the weekend that Michigan State University football coach Mark Dantonio had suffered a minor heart attack. Having had a heart attack myself several years ago, my ears always perk whenever I hear the words "minor heart attack." That's because, unlike with previvor, we all know the definition of "minor heart attack."

That would be one that happens to someone else.

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