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Moms often talk to children about the results of cancer genetic testing
Date:7/2/2013

WASHINGTON Mothers commonly talk to their children about genetic test results even if they test positive for a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, which sharply increases a woman's risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. That is among the findings of a new study from Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, which also suggests mothers who don't discuss their test results are unsatisfied with that decision.

"We know from women we've counseled at Georgetown that one of their main considerations of genetic testing for cancer risk is what the results will mean for their children," says the study's lead author, Kenneth Tercyak, PhD, director of behavioral prevention research at Georgetown Lombardi.

Tercyak says talking to children about a mom's risk of developing cancer "may already be on the radar" for women who seek genetic testing, especially if there's a strong family history of cancer. And he says women tend to reach decisions about whether, when and how to share the news of genetic test results with their children relatively soon after receiving the information, often to educate and help prepare their children for the future.

The study was published online today in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Before receiving genetic counseling and testing, 221 mothers of children ages eight to 21 enrolled in the parent communication study at Georgetown Lombardi, Mount Sinai cancer center (New York) and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Boston). Women completed standardized assessments prior to testing and one month after receiving their results.

"We found that more than half of mothers [62.4 percent] disclosed their genetic test results to their children, especially if the children were teenagers," Tercyak says. "Parents say sharing the information is often a relief and that it's part of their duty as parents to convey it."

Mothers also were more likely to disclose their test results if
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Contact: Karen Mallet
km463@georgetown.edu
Georgetown University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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