The importance of Decoding Annie Parker

9:10 AM, Aug 19, 2013   |    comments
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(WUSA9) -- It's a phrase no one wants to hear: You have breast cancer.

It's a disease that doesn't care if you're black, white, rich, poor, male or female. Even if you don't have breast cancer just about everyone has seen the horrendous affects of the disease.  But there have been some monumental breakthroughs giving more hope than ever to breast cancer survivors.

Angelina Jolie became the new face of breast cancer awareness back in May when she announced in a New York Times op-ed she has the BRCA 1 gene mutation and underwent a preventive double mastectomy.  But a little more than a decade earlier, another woman, one who didn't have Hollywood's bright light trained on her, changed the way doctors and researchers diagnosed and treated one of the deadliest forms of cancer.

Her name is Annie Parker and soon more people will find out how her bravery brought about change.  It's because of Parker's courage and determination to survive and to understand why cancer seemed to be devouring the women in her family that more women are on the defense against the disease that kills one woman every 15 minutes.

TICKETS: Decoding Annie Parker

Over the next few weeks you'll hear the stories of women and men not only fighting for their lives but fighting for the lives of the women and men in their families.  We hear breast cancer and presume it's mostly a female disease often passed from the mother's side of the family on to the daughter.

The American Cancer Society says there will be 2,240 new cases of male breast cancer this year alone and 410 men will die from the disease.  We also know the BRCA gene is passed from generation to generation from the father's side.

More families are now having the conversation about their health history.  It's a conversation that could save the lives of the people you cherish the most. Those behind the film "Decoding Annie Parker" are hoping it will inspire even more to take a closer look at their family trees, even if they haven't seen signs of breast cancer.

This movie shows how Dr. Mary-Claire King, the woman behind the discovery of the BRCA gene, fought to find the genetic connection even when no one else believed in her theory. It was Parker's DNA that brought it all together.

Over the next few weeks we're going to share the stories of several brave women who agreed to share private moments in hopes of educating others and maybe sparing them some of the pain they've had to endure.

We've teamed up with the non-profit FORCE-- Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered-- to raise awareness of breast cancer and to honor 20 years of Buddy Check 9.  You can log onto to learn more about FORCE and see more footage from the movie "Decoding Annie Parker."

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