Young BRCA Carriers Face Complex Life-Altering Decisions

Knowledge of genetic risk affects decisions about marriage, childbearing, and breast cancer

FRIDAY, Sept. 28 (HealthDay News) -- For young women, carrying a BRCA mutation impacts actions and decisions related to getting married, having children, and receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer, according to a study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Nursing.

Rebekah Hamilton, Ph.D., R.N., from Rush University in Chicago, examined the psychosocial consequences for young women who test positive for BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. Forty-four women aged 18 to 39 years with a BRCA mutation, from 22 states and Canada, were interviewed. The study focused on the impact of knowledge of genetic risk on whether or not women were married, had children, or had a breast cancer diagnosis.

The researcher found that the 13 unmarried women in the group discussed issues pertaining to when to disclose their genetic information in intimate relationships. Many of the 24 participants with children reported that their primary goal was "staying alive" for their children. A sense of urgency to have children was felt by those women without children. The youngest of the 21 women who had a diagnosis of breast cancer was 24 years old, and women with a breast cancer diagnosis said that knowledge of their genetic risk affected their decision to undergo prophylactic removal of their unaffected breast.

"A sense of being different and not understood was expressed in these interviews," Hamilton writes. "These findings suggest that nurses should be aware of psychosocial issues, especially those surrounding marriage and childbearing, in their interactions with young women who carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation."

Full Text

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Powered by

jQuery UI Accordion - Default functionality

For life-long learning and continuing professional development, come to Lippincott's NursingCenter.

Nursing Jobs Plus
Featured Jobs
Recommended CE Articles Recommended Nursing Articles

What internal motivators drive RNs to pursue a BSN?
Nursing2014 , October 2014
Free access will expire on November 24, 2014.


Breast Cancer Risk Assessment in Primary Care
MCN, The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, September/October 2014
Free access will expire on November 10, 2014.


Nurses spurring innovation
Nursing Management, October 2014
Free access will expire on November 10, 2014.


More Recommended Articles

Subscribe to Recommended Articles

Evidence Based Practice Skin Care Network NursingCenter Quick Links What’s Trending Events