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Genetics of Breast and Ovarian Cancer (PDQ®): Genetics - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Psychosocial Issues in Inherited Breast Cancer Syndromes

Table 12. Uptake of Risk-reducing Salpingo-oophorectomy (RRSO) and/or Gynecologic Screening AmongBRCA1andBRCA2Mutation Carriers continued...

A number of women choose to undergo RRM and RRSO without genetic testing because of the following:

  • Testing is not readily accessible.
  • They do not wish exposure to the psychosocial risks of genetic testing.
  • They do not trust that a negative genetic test result means they are not at increased risk.
  • They find any level of risk, even baseline population risk, unacceptable.[233,234]

Among first-degree relatives of breast cancer patients attending a surveillance clinic, women who expressed an interest in RRM and/or had undergone surgery were found to have significantly more breast cancer biopsies (P < .05) and higher subjective 10-year breast cancer risk estimates (P < .05) than women not interested in RRM. Cancer worry at the time of entry into the clinic was highest among women who subsequently underwent RRM compared with women who expressed interest but had not yet had surgery and women who did not intend to have surgery (P < .001).[235]

Few studies have evaluated the impact of BRCA1/BRCA2 test results on risk-reducing surgery decisions among women affected with breast cancer. A study evaluating predictors of contralateral RRM among 435 breast cancer survivors found that 16% had undergone contralateral RRM (in conjunction with mastectomy of the affected breast) prior to referral for genetic counseling and BRCA1/BRCA2 genetic testing.[236] Predictors of contralateral RRM prior to genetic counseling and testing included younger age at breast cancer diagnosis, more time since diagnosis, having at least one affected first-degree relative, and not being employed full-time. In the year following disclosure of test results, 18% of women who tested positive for a BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation and 2% of those whose test results were uninformative underwent contralateral RRM. Predictors of contralateral RRM after genetic testing included younger age at breast cancer diagnosis, higher cancer-specific distress prior to genetic counseling, and having a positive BRCA1/BRCA2 test result. In this study, contralateral RRM was not associated with distress at 1 year following disclosure of genetic test results. A retrospective chart review evaluated uptake of bilateral mastectomies in 110 women who underwent BRCA1/BRCA2 genetic testing prior to surgical decisions for the treatment of newly diagnosed breast cancer. BRCA mutation carriers were more likely to undergo bilateral mastectomies, compared with women in whom no mutation was detected (83% vs. 37%; P = .046).[237] The only predictor of contralateral RRM in women without a mutation was being married (P = .03). Age, race, parity, disease stage and biomarkers, increased mammographic breast density, and breast MRI did not influence contralateral RRM decisions at the time of primary surgical treatment.

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