Involvement and Influence of Healthcare Providers, Family Members, and Other Mutation Carriers in the Cancer Risk Management Decision-Making Process of BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutation Carriers.

Puski A, Hovick S, Senter L, Toland AE
J Genet Couns 27 1291-1301 09/01/2018


Deciding between increased cancer screening or prophylactic surgery and the timing of such procedures can be a difficult and complex process for women with BRCA mutations. There are gaps in our understanding of involvement of others in the decision-making process for women with BRCA mutations. This study evaluated the management decision-making process of women with BRCA mutations, focusing on the involvement of others. Grounded theory was used to analyze and code risk management decision-making information from interviews with 20 BRCA mutation carriers. Unaffected at-risk participants with a BRCA mutation, those under age 40, and those with no children described having a difficult time making risk management decisions. Physicians were an integral part of the decision-making process by providing decisional support and management recommendations. Family members and other mutation carriers filled similar yet distinct roles by providing experiential information as well as decisional and emotional support for carriers. Participants described genetic counselors as short-term providers of risk information and management recommendations. The study findings suggest that unaffected at-risk women, women under 40, and those who do not have children may benefit from additional support and information during the decision-making process. Genetic counselors are well trained to help women through this process and connect them with resources, and may be under-utilized in long-term follow-up for women with a BRCA mutation.

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