“I’ve Just Never Gotten Around to Doing It”: Men’s Approaches to Managing BRCA-Related Cancer Risks

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BRCA, hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, genetics, risk management, patient perspectives

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Objective: To examine men’s approaches to managing BRCA-related cancer risks.

Methods: 25 Qualitative interviews were conducted with men who are at risk for BRCA-related cancers. Thematic analysis was conducted using the constant comparison.

Results: Qualitative analysis revealed two different approaches for how men managed their BRCA-related cancer risks. Men were engaged when: (1) initially seeking information, (2) uptake of genetic testing, and (3) population screening procedures. Men were passively avoidant for: (1) follow-up information seeking, (2) uptake of genetic testing, and (3) BRCA-specific screening. Men’s justifications for engaged risk management were to: (1) protect their family, (2) respond to encouragement from others, and (3) get knowledge for themselves. Their justifications for passively avoidant management were due to: (1) limited access to clear risk information, (2) little fear of cancer development, (3) barriers to testing/screening, and (4) reliance on incomplete illness representations.

Conclusions: Men at risk for developing BRCA-related cancers approached risk management by primarily using a passive avoidance approach. That approach should be interpreted in context with the inconsistent information available to them, and the minimal NCCN guidelines for their risk surveillance.

Practice implications: Findings may assist healthcare providers and family members in helping men manage their BRCA-related cancer risks.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Patient Education and Counseling, v. 101, issue 2, p. 340-345