, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 42-48

The Impact of Social Roles on the Experience of Men in BRCA1/2 Families: Implications for Counseling

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Abstract

Recent advances in genetics have identified several genes associated with inherited susceptibility to breast and ovarian cancer and have led to the commercial availability of mutation analyses. Although the majority of cancers associated with BRCA1/2 mutations are seen in women, men with BRCA1/2 mutations are at increased risk for male breast cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer and melanoma. Limited data available on the response of men in BRCA1/2 families suggest that the majority do not pursue genetic counseling, thus they may forgo the opportunity to improve health practices and to pass on valuable cancer risk information to offspring. The patterns of relationships of men within the family and society can pose challenges to their recognition of genetic health threats and the need for preventive interventions. Genetic counselors are in a position to inform at-risk males of their genetic risk, and to help them explore their personal health options.