Pink cakes and cocktails are on the menu for the month of October, as chefs and restaurants across Hong Kong help raise funds and awareness about hereditary breast cancer.
Thirty restaurants are participating in the Pink Desserts For A Cause campaign, in aid of the Hong Kong Hereditary Breast Cancer Family Registry.
The need for public awareness is great, says registry chairwoman Dr Ava Kwong. "One of the misconceptions is younger people thinking it's not going to happen to them," she said, of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 cancers. "[But] my youngest patient is 17."
BRCA is a genetic mutation that can increase a woman's chance of developing breast cancer from 12 per cent to 60 per cent, according to the US National Institute of Cancer.
Normal BRCA genes help the body suppress tumours by repairing damaged cell DNA. But the BRCA mutation interferes with that repair work and makes cancer more likely - especially among younger women.
The mutation also increases the risk of developing other cancers, including prostate cancer in men. Kwong said that about two per cent of the population have family histories that make it likely they carry the mutation.
Certain European populations are more susceptible to the mutation, but its prevalence and impact are not well understood in Chinese populations.
The registry is trying to fill this knowledge gap through research, providing genetic counselling, testing and support to high-risk patients - those with a family histories of breast or ovarian cancer.
Kwong recommends women in their 40s who have the mutation should have surgery to remove their breasts, ovaries and fallopian tubes as a preventive measure. "It's a matter of weighing the risks and benefits," she said. "If you detect it very early, the prognosis is very good."
Restaurants participating in Pink Desserts For A Cause include the Peninsula, Otto e Mezzo, Jimmy's Kitchen, Ammo and Fook Lam Moon.Topics: Health Medicine Breast Cancer