J Genet Couns. 2012 Aug 15. [Epub ahead of print]
Life Events may Contribute to Family Communication About Cancer Risk Following BRCA1/2 Testing.
SourceFaculté de pharmacie, Université Laval, Québec, Canada.
AbstractWe assessed whether certain life events contributed to the communication about cancer risk within families who have undergone BRCA1/2 testing. We also explored what type of resources participants would have valued to help in supporting family communication about genetic information. Two hundred and forty-six individuals (218 women, 28 men) who received a BRCA1/2 genetic test result 3 to 10 years earlier (mean of 6.4 years) participated in a telephone interview. Participants were asked about the occurrence of a number of life events (cancer diagnosis, death, uptake of prophylactic surgery, and providing care to a family member with cancer) in their family since their BRCA1/2 test result disclosure and, for each occurrence, whether it fostered family communication about cancer risk. A total of 182 participants (74 %) reported that they or one of their relatives received a cancer diagnosis, 176 (72 %) reported that someone died in their family, and 73 (30 %) stated that they or one of their relatives undertook a prophylactic surgery. During this period, 109 participants (44 %) also provided care for a family member who had cancer. Among participants who reported these life events, family communication was fostered by these events in proportions varying from 50 % (death) to 69 % (cancer diagnosis). Our results indicate that life events may contribute to family communication about cancer risk. Further research is needed to determine whether these events provide a "window of opportunity" to reach family members, address their needs and concerns about cancer, update family cancer history, and introduce genetic counseling and risk assessment.
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