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Lab tests for breast cancer can present a parent with many tough decisions. For instance, if screening reveals that the carry genetic risk factors for the condition, should they tell their children that they too may have hereditary susceptibility?
A new study has found that many parents do, in fact, choose to inform their children of this risk factor, even when the child is relatively young. The findings suggest that many parents believe it is better for their children to know what may lay in their future than to protect them from worry.
For the study, researchers from the Fox Chase Cancer Center interviewed 253 individuals who recently underwent testing for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic variations. These are the two most common markers of genetic breast cancer risk. The results showed that 66 percent of the children of parents who tested positive for the heritable risk factor were told by their parents of the condition.
The researchers said that it may be valuable for young people to learn of their possible genetic risk for developing breast cancer at an early age, as it may help them develop healthy lifestyles. While their genes may put them at risk, it is possible to modify this susceptibility.
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