Families in which a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation has been identified may benefit from working with a family therapist who is knowledgeable about how these mutations may impact relationships, health, communication, and decision-making.
Individual reactions to learning about the presence of a BRCA mutation in the family can vary widely, and talking together about feelings, fears, and plans can challenge family members’ sense of cohesiveness and solidarity. It’s quite normal to worry about one’s own health, as well as the health of loved ones, and how they might be affected by the mutation going forward.
One common challenge for families dealing with the presence of a BRCA mutation is deciding when and how to share the information about the mutation with various family members. Disclosing this information to minors, distant relatives, or those with whom we do not share close or positive relationships can be very tricky. A skilled family therapist can help you work through these issues and develop a plan that takes into account both your own needs and the best interests of others involved.
The options available for risk-management for BRCA-positive individuals are complicated and frequently changing. In addition, any decision has serious implications for the family as a whole. Even deciding whether or not to undergo genetic testing may have serious implications for another family member’s knowledge of his or her own mutation status. Lindsey Hoskins has worked extensively with families, couples and individuals to help them make confident decisions about how to manage their risk in the context of their relationships, and communicate about these decisions in a collaborative, productive way.