-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Jan. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Most parents who have genetic
tests for breast cancer risk share the findings with their
children, a new study finds.
Researchers interviewed 253 parents who underwent genetic
testing for mutations in two common breast cancer-related genes
(BRCA1 and BRCA2) that can be inherited. All the participants had
children younger than age 25 at the time of the genetic test.
Twenty-nine percent of the parents were found to have a BRCA
gene mutation associated with an increased risk of breast cancer,
said Dr. Angela Bradbury, of the Fox Chase Cancer Center in
Philadelphia, and colleagues.
Most of the parents in the study shared their test results
(positive or negative) with at least one of their children. Of the
505 children, 334 (66 percent) were informed about the findings of
their parents' tests.
Parents were more likely to share their test results with older
children, but results were shared with about half of children ages
10 to 13, and some children who were even younger.
The researchers also found that parents were more likely to tell
their children about negative test results -- meaning no breast
cancer-related mutation was found -- particularly if the child was
Most children were not distressed when told about their parents'
test results, but they were more likely to be upset when a mutation
was detected and when they were younger than age 10, according to
the report published online Jan. 9 in the journal
"We know that adolescence is a time when children establish many important health behaviors they continue in adulthood. An understanding about children's reactions to these communications may assist parents in their decisions about whether, or when, to share their genetic test results," Bradbury said in a journal news release.
"This could also help parents begin conversations with their children that can encourage them to adopt healthy behaviors but not cause them distress," she added.
The American Association for Clinical Chemistry has more about
BRCA1 and BRCA2 tests.
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