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Keywords:

  • BRCA1;
  • BRCA2;
  • cancer prevention;
  • prophylactic mastectomy;
  • prophylactic oophorectomy

Women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation are at an elevated risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer; however, it is unclear to what extent family history influences the uptake of cancer prevention options.Women with a BRCA1/2 mutation completed a follow-up questionnaire that assessed uptake of cancer preventive options. The pedigree of each woman was reviewed, and information was recorded on cancers diagnosed in relatives. Five hundred and seventeen women were included in the study. Women with a sister with breast cancer were more likely to have a prophylactic mastectomy than those without a sister with breast cancer [odds ratios (OR) = 2.4, p = 0.003]. Uptake of prophylactic mastectomy was significantly lower in women with a mother with ovarian cancer compared with those whose mother did not have ovarian cancer (OR = 0.4, p = 0.01). Having a mother or sister with ovarian cancer significantly predicted the uptake of prophylactic oophorectomy (OR = 1.6, p = 0.04). Women with a BRCA2 mutation were less likely to have a prophylactic oophorectomy than those with a BRCA1 mutation (OR = 0.49, p = 0.0004). Among women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, family history predicts the uptake of prophylactic mastectomy and prophylactic oophorectomy.