Current Month 2011
Article Features
  A Role of Sugar Uptake in Breast Cancer Revealed
Acupuncture, Real or Sham, Eases Hot Flashes Due To Breast Cancer Chemo
Avoiding Radiotherapy Is An Option For Some Older Patients With Breast Cancer
Bisphosphonate Treatment Fails To Improve Outcomes for Women with Chemo-Resistant Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer Risk Related To Changes in Breast Density As Women Age
Cells’ Adaptations To Low Oxygen Conditions Inside Tumors Promote Breast Cancer’s Spread
Changing Chemo Not Beneficial For Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients With Elevated Circulating Tumor Cells
Diet Rich in Tomatoes May Lower Breast Cancer Risk
Drug Cuts Breast Cancer Cases By More Than 50% In High-Risk Women
Exercise Can Reduce Drug-Related Joint Pain in Breast Cancer Patients
Exercise Protects Against Aggressive Breast Cancer in Black Women
First Step of Metastasis Halted in Mice With Breast Cancer
New Combination Therapy Fails to Delay Progression of Advanced Breast Cancer
New Pre-Surgery Treatment Combination More Effective For Women With Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
New Research Backs Risk-Reduction Surgery for Women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 Mutations
Novel Agent Set For Unique Clinical Test in Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Patients With Metastatic Breast Cancer May Not Benefit From Surgery and Radiation After Chemotherapy
PIK3CA Gene Mutations Make HER2- and Hormone Receptor-Positive Breast Cancers Treatment Resistant
Radiotherapy After Breast Conserving Surgery Used Less Often By Patients With Young Children
Study Shows Families Don’t Understand Genetic Test Results Or Their Implications
Survey Finds Angelina Jolie’s Preventive Mastectomy Raised Awareness But Not Knowledge of Breast Cancer Risk

Study Shows Families Don’t Understand Genetic Test Results Or Their Implications

A study done by researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center shows that many relatives of patients who undergo testing for a gene linked to breast and ovarian cancers misinterpret the results, and less than half of those who could benefit from genetic testing say they plan to get tested themselves—despite the fact that knowing your genetic status may help catch the disease in its earliest stages. The study results were presented at the 2013 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

"People don't always understand genetic information, so there's confusion," says study author Mary B. Daly, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Clinical Genetics at Fox Chase. "Family members are either not understanding what they're hearing, not realizing it has implications for them, or they're not hearing it at all."

For a long time, Daly says she "naively" assumed that, once one family member knew whether or not they carried genes linked to breast and ovarian cancers—known as BRCA1/2—their entire family would understand the result, and what it meant for their own genetic risk. "Over time, we realized that wasn't happening, or it wasn't happening very well."

Some genetic information is straightforward, says Daly. For example, when a woman learns she carries BRCA1/2 that means her parents, siblings and children may also carry the gene. But there are more "indeterminate" results, which are harder to interpret, she adds. If a woman with a strong family history of breast and ovarian cancers tests negative for the BRCA1/2 genes, that does not mean her relatives are not at risk, says Daly—her siblings could still carry the gene, or there could be additional genes present that predispose them to cancer that clinicians don't yet know how to test for.

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