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Friday, April 3, 2009
Unraveling the Next Chapter for Female BRCA carriers: Sexual Development, Body Image and Sexual Functioning
Clinical genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 has become available in the past 15 years, and it has been established that female BRCA carriers have a high lifetime risk to develop both breast and ovarian cancer. Predisposition testing makes it possible to predict risk in families and to tailor medical management accordingly. In addition to close surveillance, prophylactic mastectomy and oophorectomy are primary risk reduction strategies offered to BRCA carriers. Although the emphasis of research thus far has been on the efficacy of surveillance and risk reduction strategies, it has become clear that genetic testing and the resulting medical decisions around risk reduction lead to a unique set of emotional, physical, and sexual issues for female BRCA carriers and their children.