Posted 2 years ago
Talking to kids about BRCA
Often parents find the prospect of speaking to their children about the presence of the BRCA gene within the family very difficult. There are many studies that show parents’ first instinct is to protect their children. Parents find it hard to know what they should and shouldn’t tell their children. Parents find themselves dealing with their own concerns about their health and future wellbeing. This testing may have come at a time of illness, surgery and often cancer treatments. Speaking to your children is an added layer of stress. The article from the National Society of Genetic Counselors offers great advice on how to discuss the presence of the BRCA within your family.
Genetic testing for a BRCA mutation is not offered to children under 18. There is no associated risk of childhood cancers and no preventative treatment that would be considered. Children are not yet old enough to decide for themselves whether they want information about their lifetime cancer risks. It may be possible that by the time today’s children reach adulthood, scientists will have discovered new treatments to correct abnormal breast cancer genes before cancer has a chance to develop.
As a certified oncology genetic counselor, Mandy works with patients who have a personal and/or family history of cancer to assess their risk of having an inherited cancer predisposition. This information allows for the pursuit of early detection or possibly prevention of certain cancer types.
The ultimate goal of cancer genetic counseling is to empower patients to use their personal risk information to better inform treatment and management decisions and to educate family members on their possible cancer risks.
Mandy obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Arizona State University in 2013. Mandy then went on to pursue her Master’s Degree in Human Genetics from Sarah Lawrence College and graduated in 2016. Her training in genetic counseling included clinical rotations at several locations throughout New York City, including Columbia University Medical Center, Mount Sinai Beth Israel, and Bellevue Hospital.