Author(s): ShkediRafid S, GabaiKapara E, GrinshpunCohen J, LevyLahad E
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Abstract PURPOSE: BRCA genes are associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancers. Guidelines worldwide currently recommend BRCA genetic testing in asymptomatic individuals only if they belong to "high-risk" families. However, population screening for BRCA1/2 may be the logical next step in populations with a high prevalence of founder mutations, such as Ashkenazi Jews. This study aimed to explore (i) the impact of a positive BRCA genetic test result on individuals who have neither a personal history nor a familial history of cancer and (ii) their attitudes toward the concept of population screening. METHODS: Semistructured in-depth interviews were carried out with 14 Ashkenazi Jewish women who were asymptomatic BRCA carriers and who belonged to families with low prevalence of cancer. RESULTS: Three main findings emerged: (i) having no family history of cancer was a source of optimism but also confusion; (ii) engaging in intensified medical surveillance and undergoing preventive procedures was perceived as health-promoting but also tended to induce a sense of physical and psychological vulnerability; and (iii) there was overall support for BRCA population screening, with some reservations. CONCLUSION: Women belonging to low-cancer-prevalence families within a "high-risk" ethnic community view BRCA genetic testing positively despite the difficulties entailed, because it allows prevention or early detection of cancer. However, implementing a BRCA population screening program should be carried out with proper pre- and post-testing preparation and support for the individuals undergoing testing.
This article was published in Genet Med
and referenced in Journal of Bioequivalence & Bioavailability