Navigation Links
Many Parents Share Genetic Test Findings With Kids

But the children may be too young to handle the information, study suggests

FRIDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- As genetic testing for diseases becomes more commonplace, the impact of those findings on family members may be underestimated, researchers say.

For instance, some women who discover they have the BRCA gene mutation, which puts them at higher risk for breast cancer, choose to tell their children about it before the children are old enough to understand the significance or deal with it, a new study found.

"Parents with the BRCA mutation are discussing their genetic test results with their offspring often many years before the offspring would need to do anything," said study author Dr. Angela Bradbury, director of the Fox Chase Cancer Center's Family Risk Assessment Program, in Philadelphia.

According to Bradbury, more than half of parents she surveyed told their children about genetic test results. Some parents reported that their children didn't seem to understand the significance of the information, and some had initial negative reactions to the news.

"A lot of genetic information is being shared within families and there hasn't been a lot of guidance from health-care professionals," Bradbury said. "While this genetic risk may be shared accurately, there is risk of inaccurate sharing."

In the study, Bradbury's team interviewed 42 women who had the BRCA mutation. The researchers found that 55 percent of parents discussed the finding and the risk of breast cancer with at least one of their children who was under 25.

Also, most of the women didn't avail themselves of the services of a doctor or genetic counselor in helping to tell their children, Bradbury's group found.

Bradbury is concerned that sharing genetic information with young children can create anxiety. "The children could be overly concerned about their own risk at a time when there is nothing that they need to do," she said.

But, she added, "it may be possible that sharing may be good for children in adapting to this information."

The findings are published in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The lack of definitive data on when -- or if -- to discuss genetic test results with children is a real problem, Bradbury said.

"As we move genetic testing forward for cancer or other illnesses, we have to consider the context of the whole family and focus our counseling to the whole family, and not just the person who comes in for testing," Bradbury said. "We should learn more about how and when we should talk to children about this, so that we can promote healthy behaviors without causing too much anxiety for the offspring."

Barbara Brenner, executive director of Breast Cancer Action, agreed that the psychological component of genetic testing needs more attention.

"This is the tip of a very scary iceberg," Brenner said. "We don't know the psychological consequences [of BRCA testing], not only to the person who has the test, but to her family members."

Brenner thinks guidelines to help parents deal with this information are needed. So is help from doctors and genetic counselors in counseling family members, especially children, she added.

More information

For more on genetic testing, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Angela Bradbury, M.D., director, Fox Chase Cancer Centers Family Risk Assessment Program, Philadelphia; Barbara Brenner, executive director, Breast Cancer Action, San Francisco; Aug. 20, 2007, Journal of Clinical Oncology


Copyright©2007 ScoutNews,LLC.

Related medicine news :

1. Children suffer the most when parents divorce
2. Teens listen to parents about smoking
3. Smoking may be influenced by Parents
4. Few Parents Help Kids Fight Acne
5. Parents Should Look For Signs Of Children Becoming Overweight
6. HIV-positive Parents Require More Counseling
7. Parents understand better the hearing loss problem in children if counseled
8. Teaching parents to deal with behavior problems in children
9. Parents Should Beware of Violent Video Games
10. Risk Of Pre-eclampsia May Be In The Genes Of The Parents.
11. Pediatricians Need To Talk To Parents Of Overweight Kids
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... have developed valuable new strategies for enrolling and serving insurance consumers who do ... obtain health insurance and pay monthly premiums. In “Health Plan Engagement Strategies: The ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... smoke-free communities, and the Florida Apartment Association (FAA) has partnered with the Florida ... communities meet the demand. , The FAA Smoke-Free Multifamily Housing Program launched ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... 13, 2015 , ... Just under three months ago, eMarketing Concepts ... promotion – effectively offering all of their services for just a buck in the ... flooded with phone calls from interested buyers. As a genuine one-stop-shop for internet marketing, ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... a new PDF automation tool to batch conversions of CAD drawings, plans, ... 100% document fidelity. , CADConverter eliminates the complexity requirement of specialized applications to ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2015 , ... The Bill ... in San Diego, also offering expert reconstruction and flood remediation services. Family-owned and operated ... They have been named the Best San Diego plumber two years in a row ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2015)... Va. , Oct. 12, 2015  Today, Divurgent is ... of Advisory Services. As a former CIO, Paul brings 15 ... not just understand or sympathize with today,s CIOs, he is ... the same challenges Paul has faced, and his new role ... in ensuring technology efficiencies across an organization. ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... DENVER , Oct. 12, 2015 Beginning ... ICD-10 Codes. Therapy Partner, the fastest growing practice management ... automated technology that easily converts all patient diagnostic codes ... --> --> ... Brief for all mental health practitioners to easily understand ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... INDIANAPOLIS , Oct. 12, 2015 Eli ... ACCELERATE study,s academic leadership have accepted the recommendation of ... 3 trial of the investigational medicine evacetrapib, due to ... the treatment of high-risk atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and will ... --> --> The independent data ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: