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Keywords:

  • breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility;
  • genetic testing;
  • management options

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of current knowledge concerning genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility. This overview includes 1) a brief history of genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility, 2) a review of factors that midwives and other health care providers need to consider before offering this type of testing to their clients, 3) management options for clients at high risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancers, and 4) a discussion of preliminary findings from an ongoing study concerning the family experience of genetic testing, which illustrates some of the ethical issues that emerge for individuals and families during the family experience of genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility.