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Volume 10 Supplement 2

Breast Cancer Research 2008

Living with genetic risk of breast cancer: what have we learned?

Since genetic testing became a possibility for breast cancer predisposition in the mid-1990s, research attention has focused on the impact of predictive genetic testing for people who are told they are at significantly increased risk of developing breast cancer. The present study will review research evidence for the impact of testing in terms of distress experienced and risk management strategies adopted to manage risk of developing breast cancer [1, 2]. In addition to the psychosocial implications and impact on risk management behaviour, research has uncovered dilemmas that people face in talking to their family members. This presentation will highlight some of the dilemmas that genetic testing and associated research has raised for families who are living with a family history of breast cancer [3, 4]. With the evidence base that now exists, the challenge for the future is to develop interventions to support people undergoing genetic testing. In Southampton we are developing an intervention to support discussions within families about genetic testing and associated risks.


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    Foster C, Evans DGR, Eeles R, Eccles D, Ashley S, Brooks L, et al: Predictive testing for BRCA1/2: attributes, risk perception and management in a multi-centre clinical cohort. Br J Cancer. 2002, 86: 1209-1216. 10.1038/sj.bjc.6600253.

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    Watson M, Foster C, Eeles R, Eccles D, Ashley S, Davidson R, et al: Psychosocial impact of breast/ovarian (BRCA1/2) cancer-predictive genetic testing in a UK multi-centre clinical cohort. Br J Cancer. 2004, 91: 1787-1794. 10.1038/sj.bjc.6602207.

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    Foster C, Watson M, Moynihan C, Ardern-Jones A, Eeles R: Genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer predisposition: cancer burden and responsibility. J Health Psychol. 2002, 7: 469-484. 10.1177/1359105302007004627.

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    Foster C, Watson M, Moynihan C, Ardern-Jones A, Eeles R: Juggling roles and expectations: dilemmas faced by women talking to relatives about cancer and genetic testing. Psychol Health. 2004, 19: 439-455. 10.1080/08870440410001684168.

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Foster, C. Living with genetic risk of breast cancer: what have we learned?. Breast Cancer Res 10, P54 (2008).

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  • Breast Cancer
  • Family Member
  • Family History
  • Cancer Research
  • Management Strategy