With the approach of Mother’s Day in the United States in May, followed soon after by Father’s Day, our thoughts often turn to our grandparents and parents, aunts and uncles. If your family has experienced multiple cases of breast cancer and possibly other types of cancer, you also may be thinking about your health history — and whether or not your family members might be good candidates for genetic testing. Testing can reveal whether or not an inherited mutation in genes such as BRCA1 or BRCA2 is responsible for the cancer(s); however, the testing process and results can sometimes cause emotional strain in families.
Saundra Weller, LCSW, OSW-C, manager of oncology navigation counseling at Inova Loudoun Hospital in northern Virginia, spent two years co-leading a support group for BRCA-positive women in her region. Breastcancer.org asked her to weigh in on some of the family issues faced by women who want to move forward with genetic testing.
What is the first piece of advice you would give to women who are thinking about bringing up genetic testing with their families?
Even before they start gathering a family history, they should figure out what they might do with their test results. It’s not just about having the test; it’s about knowing what to do if they test positive for the BRCA mutation or another mutation. This means asking for and reading information, meeting with a genetic counselor, consulting with FORCE [Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered], and maybe joining a support group. Anyone who is going to move forward with testing should take responsibility to do this first.
You mentioned gathering a family history, which is a typical first step toward determining whether genetic testing is appropriate. What are some of the emotional challenges women face in doing that?
Well, first there are often logistical challenges. Many of the women in my group found that an accurate family health history ended with their parents; beyond that it was lost because those older generations just didn’t talk openly about cancer. Others were adopted and had no information at all, and they experienced a real sense of loss in not having that knowledge.
Emotionally, though, it can be tough if you’re estranged from your siblings, as some group members were. Most eventually found someone they could reconnect with and start piecing together the history. In other cases, just bringing up the idea of the family history created difficulties because some family members were not at all interested in genetic testing. They were very closed up about it.
Talk more about that. How can women navigate the situation if they are interested in testing, but some family members are not?
Some women do find that their relatives simply don’t want to talk about it. Some family members might say, “You can get tested. You can do anything you want, but I don’t want to know.” My advice is to do everything you can to make sure your loved ones know what is happening in case they eventually want to get tested or their children do. Many women typically made a phone call or sent a letter acknowledging that their relative might not want to talk about it, but then included a brochure or some other information and offered to communicate more if they ever wanted to.
After that, you have to accept that everyone has a right to self-determination. Each person can talk about it or not. They can get tested or they don’t have to. Just do your “due diligence” with these family members — let them know what is going on, provide them with information, and you’ve done your job.Tips on how to make a good minecraft house? what can i do with netsh show helper What is the meaning of a dandelion tattoo? What does the symbol mean? How to do magic tricks on playing cards? How to calculate depreciation? How to smoke wax? How does it feel to die? How to post on facebook marketplace? What is the push to connect thread size for standard air hose tips in us? What is a conservatorship? What is the meaning of ;? What is the meaning of angiography? What does attain mean? What does jiggy mean? How are flouting magic tricks? Tricks how to be successful at appealing successful restaining order youtube? How to reverse atrial fibrillation naturally? What does malleable mean? ancestrydna helper where is database stored What does elastic mean in economics? What is the meaning of yule? What a pos meaning? What is mortgage insurance? How to review profit and loss statement tips? What does profitable mean? what to expect at ups appointment driver helper How to respond to a job offer? How to be a good wife? What is the full meaning of ssce? How to learn simple card tricks? What time is the trump rally on tv tonight 2022? What is a renewable resource? What is the meaning of the fool card in tarot? What does resurrection mean? How to do hanging indent on google docs? What does 25 fold mean? How to increase estrogen? How to use white rhino glass tips? Sushi restautant in chicago where they do the cool tricks? What does statement balance mean? What are the building blocks of proteins? What does aerial mean? What is the meaning of the name pamela? How to produce more milk? what does a helper t cell do to activate a b cell What is tylenol? How to find gspot? What does nut mean? What is the meaning of exultation? How to find instantaneous rate of change? bsod gaming, how to download games with wii u helper Tricks to play on friends when they are sleeping? How to test for uti? What does clergy mean? what is cehtmlengine helper How to make a bow out of ribbon? How to unhide columns in excel? What is petechiae? What fruits are low in sugar? What is the meaning of geography? How to take off tips of airpods pro? How do i speed up my idm 2015 tricks? How long does claritin take to work? How to pair xfinity remote to box? What is the meaning of the song timmy turner? How to cut a star rounded tips? How much do cam girls get from their tips? What does base salary mean? Tips on how to train an aggresive dog? What does altruistic mean? Tricks to protect brows when using latex paint? What are the tricks to extreme couponing? How to train a tiger tricks? What does sappy mean? Me audio m7 pro what tips? What does wom mean? Which words have the prefix meaning not? when did hambuger helper stop putting their pasta in bags What does tapas mean? What is the meaning of fuck you? What me worry portugal the man meaning? What does murr meaning furry? how do you cook hamburger helper in the instant pot How to transfer pokemon from go to home? What does invoice mean? How to unclog your nose? How many tricks has r willy made? Comedian who tricks people? What is esp? What does ovarian cyst pain feel like? driver helper vs seasonal personal vehicle package delivery driver which is better How to do tricks in mx vs atv supercross encore ps4? what is transference, and how do you deal with it as a professional helper? What does high b12 mean? Tips when blending own juices? How to press flowers in a book? What is suping meaning? How to stop baby hiccups? What is kidney disease? a good letter to a helper who help you in school How to pose for pictures?
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