Adult daughters' reports of breast cancer risk reduction and early detection advice received from their mothers: an exploratory study

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Abstract

Objective: Awareness of cancer family history is dependent upon communication between family members. Communication of this information and related decision-making could be important factors influencing breast cancer risk reduction and early detection behaviors. Using survey data from 2328 women (mean age 62.5 years) from 372 families enrolled in the Minnesota breast cancer family study, we explored adult daughter's reports of breast cancer risk reduction advice received from their mothers.

Methods and results: Approximately 212 (9%) of respondents reported receiving breast cancer risk reduction advice from their mothers and 130 (89%) reported acting upon such advice. Having a mother or first degree relative (FDR) with a history of breast cancer was significantly correlated with following advice to a higher degree as compared with those not having such family history (p=0.003).

Most frequently reported types of advice were to have mammograms (36%) and to have clinical breast exams (35%). Using multivariable logistic regression and after accounting for non-independence of the sample, significant independent correlates of receiving advice included younger age, having an affected mother, and having a higher perceived breast cancer risk. Receiving advice was also correlated with engaging in a higher number of health promoting behaviors and ever having received a mammogram.

Conclusions: Our preliminary findings are consistent with social influence theory and suggest that mother–daughter communication about reducing risk, especially among those having a FDR with breast cancer, could be a potential pathway through which breast cancer family history is associated with the adoption of breast cancer screening and risk reduction behaviors. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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