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SABCS: BRCA Mutation Risk Not Getting Through to Men

Men with first-degree female relatives who carry BRCA mutations unlikely to get genetic testing

FRIDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Men who learn that their mothers, sisters or daughters carry cancer-causing mutations of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes are often unaware that they, too, may be at increased risk for cancer and have a low level of interest in genetic testing, according to research presented this week at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Mary B. Daly, M.D., Ph.D., of the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, and colleagues interviewed 24 men with first-degree female relatives who tested positive for the BRCA mutations and reported informing the men about the results.

The researchers found that only 18 men recalled receiving the results. Of these, only 11 were aware that they could be at increased risk of developing breast or prostate cancer and only five could correctly identify their chance of being a mutation carrier. Although 14 of the men showed some concern about the test result, only six indicated that they were interested in genetic testing, and three of those said they'd do it for their children's sake.

"This limited experience tends to confirm a level of cognitive and emotional distance that men experience from the genetic testing process as it applies to them," the authors conclude.


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