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Talking With Your Family

Learn about genes and cancer, signs of hereditary cancer, genetic counseling, types of genetic tests and what results mean for you and your family.

Sharing risk information with children

Hereditary cancer affects entire families. Sharing information about cancer with children -- both adult and minor -- can be difficult and complicated. Although it’s natural for parents to want to protect their children from difficult topics, children are already exposed to the disruption that cancer causes in families: the agonizing decision making, family members undergoing treatment and surgery, or loss of a family member to cancer. Absent an explanation they understand, children form their own beliefs, which may be based on incorrect information and can be difficult to resolve later. FORCE and the National Society of Genetic Counselors developed this booklet to help parents make decisions and about sharing cancer risk information with children. 

Because Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer is typically adult onset, genetics experts do not recommend genetic testing of children for mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2, or most other genes associated with increased risk of breast or ovarian cancers unless it will change medical care. 

Updated 9/9/16

 

FORCE:Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered