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Children seem to not respond negatively to their parents' revelation of hereditary risk for breast cancer, according to a new study from Fox Chase Cancer Center.
The study, which will be presented in full at the 2009 meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, sought to determine how the children of parents diagnosed with the BRCA1/2 gene known to cause high risk of breast cancer react to the news.
"We know that many people who carry the BRCA1/2 gene mutation share their genetic test results with their children," explained Angela Bradbury, MD, medical oncologist at Fox Chase and lead author on the study. "What we did not know was the impact this communication has on their children."
The researchers found that among parents who disclosed their results, most did not report negative reactions from their children - only 9 percent. Overall, the parents reported that their children handled the revelation well, with negative reactions being most likely in younger children and the children of those with a mutation or a variation of uncertain significance.
The researchers intend to investigate further how children and adolescents respond to learning about hereditary risk, to inform the development of interventions to help them adapt to the knowledge.
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