Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Young women with the BRCA gene mutation face complex decisions about life plans

Date:
September 25, 2012
Source:
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Summary:
A study has found that young women who learn they have BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations felt differently about options for relationships, treatment, childbearing and careers. Women who inherit a BRCA1 mutation have a significantly increased risk of developing breast, ovarian cancer or both. A mutation in BRCA2 increases risk of melanoma and cancers of the pancreas, stomach, and gallbladder. While genetic testing may help a woman manage her risk, it may also cause her to face complicated, life-altering decisions.

A study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Nursing (AJN) found that young women who learn they have BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations felt differently about options for relationships, treatment, childbearing and careers. Women who inherit a BRCA1 mutation have a significantly increased risk of developing breast, ovarian cancer or both. A mutation in BRCA2 increases risk of melanoma and cancers of the pancreas, stomach, and gallbladder. While genetic testing may help a woman manage her risk, it may also cause her to face complicated, life-altering decisions.

Related Articles


AJN, the leading voice of nursing since 1900, is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, part of Wolters Kluwer Health.

"Although there have been advances in determining a person's genetic risk for disease, little is still known about the psychosocial consequences among young women who know they carry the BRCA 1 and 2 mutations," said Rebekah Hamilton, associate professor in the College of Nursing at Rush University in Chicago and author of the study. "While being told you have a disease is distressing, learning that you carry a gene mutation that increases your risk of disease as well as that of your siblings and children raises other, more complex, issues."

The Study

In 2006, participants were recruited from Web sites for women with breast cancer and/or BRCA gene mutations. Forty-four women ages 18 to 39 from 22 US states and Canada who were found to carry a BRCA mutation were interviewed by phone or e-mail. A qualitative, grounded theory analysis was performed focusing on the participants' being young and having had genetic testing for the BRCA mutation. The findings focused on three characteristics of the participants -- whether or not they were married, had children, had breast cancer -- and how those characteristics were affected by the women's knowledge of their genetic risk.

Among the 13 unmarried participants, issues included when to tell a new partner about your genetic risk; how early in a relationship to discuss having children or plans for prophylactic mastectomy or oophorectomy. Young women showed concerns surrounding the impact of pregnancy on cancer development, the disruptions on relationships and a sense of discrimination from one's peers. Some expressed a feeling of being less perfect than other family members.

Many of the 24 participants who had children reported "staying alive" for their children as a primary goal and expressed concern and guilt that they might have passed the mutation to their children; the childless women reported an urgency to have children. Of the 21 who had a breast cancer diagnosis, several said knowledge of their genetic risk influenced their decision to have the unaffected breast removed prophylactically.

"While learning that you have the mutation can empower a woman to reduce her risk of developing cancer or detect it in its earlier stages, it can cause her to worry for herself, her children and to change how she views her life options," said Maureen Shawn Kennedy, MA, RN, editor-in-chief of AJN. "Nurses need to recognize a patient's knowledge of genetic risk before testing, and consider such factors as woman's age, marital status, breast cancer diagnosis, presence or absence of children and family history of breast cancer as important aspects of care."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rebekah Hamilton. Being Young, Female, and BRCA Positive. AJN, American Journal of Nursing, 2012; DOI: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000421021.62295.3b

Cite This Page:

Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. "Young women with the BRCA gene mutation face complex decisions about life plans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120925091342.htm>.
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. (2012, September 25). Young women with the BRCA gene mutation face complex decisions about life plans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 2, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120925091342.htm
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. "Young women with the BRCA gene mutation face complex decisions about life plans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120925091342.htm (accessed April 2, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Wound-Healing Laser Soon to Be a Reality Israeli Scientist

Wound-Healing Laser Soon to Be a Reality Israeli Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 1, 2015) Israeli scientists says laser bonding of tissue allows much faster healing and less scarring. Amy Pollock has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Sees Resurgence of Drug Trafficking as Ebola Wanes

Liberia Sees Resurgence of Drug Trafficking as Ebola Wanes

AFP (Apr. 1, 2015) The governments of Liberia and Sierra Leone have been busy fighting the menace created by the deadly Ebola virus, but illicit drug lords have taken advantage of the situation to advance the drug trade. Duration: 01:12 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stigma Stalks India's Leprosy Sufferers as Disease Returns

Stigma Stalks India's Leprosy Sufferers as Disease Returns

AFP (Apr. 1, 2015) The Indian government declared victory over leprosy in 2005, but the disease is making a comeback in some parts of the country, with more than a hundred thousand lepers still living in colonies, shunned from society. Duration: 02:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

AP (Mar. 31, 2015) Although she never had much interest in prosthetic limbs before, Faith Lennox couldn&apos;t wait to slip on her new robohand. The 7-year-old, who lost part of her left arm when she was a baby, grabbed it as soon as it came off a 3-D printer. (March 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins