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Unselected Women's Experiences of Receiving Genetic Research Results for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer: A Qualitative Study


Background: Although there is growing consensus that clinically actionable genetic research results should be returned to participants, research on recipients' experiences and best practices for return of research results is scarce. Objective: This study explored how women in a population-based study (lifepool) experience receiving research results about actionable pathogenic variants (PVs) for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) using a two-step notification process with telephone genetic counseling (TGC) support. Methods: We conducted qualitative interviews with lifepool participants with an HBOC PV. We used team-based codebook thematic analysis to develop findings. Findings: Thirty-one women participated (mean age 62.5 years) on average 2.3 years (range 0.3-5.1 years) after result notification. Notification was unexpected but not traumatic and TGC support helped meet women's information and support needs. Notification with referral to a local genetics service empowered women to make informed decisions about personal and familial health. Adaptation to results over time was facilitated by three main processes: seeking information, family communication, and undertaking risk management and/or risk-reducing strategies. Conclusion: Using a two-step notification process to return clinically actionable HBOC PVs from research was well received by women in a population-based study of breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility. Having genetic counseling support with referral to local genetics services in the notification process facilitated women's feelings of empowerment and adaptation to their genetic information over time. These findings build the basis for future methods for the return of actionable genetic research results and population screening.

Type Journal
ISBN 1945-0257 (Electronic) 1945-0257 (Linking)
Authors Forbes Shepherd, R.; Forrest, L. E.; Tutty, E.; Pearce, A.; Devereux, L.; James, P. A.; Campbell, I. G.; Trainer, A.; Young, M. A.
Responsible Garvan Author Mary-Anne Young
Published Date 2021-12-31
Published Volume 25
Published Issue 12
Published Pages 741-748
Status Published in-print
DOI 10.1089/gtmb.2021.0115
URL link to publisher's version