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Guilt, blame and responsibility: men's understanding of their role in the transmission of BRCA1/2 mutations within their family

Guilt, blame and responsibility: men's understanding of their role in the transmission of BRCA1/2 mutations within their family
Guilt, blame and responsibility: men's understanding of their role in the transmission of BRCA1/2 mutations within their family
Men and women who have a family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer may be offered a predictive genetic test to determine whether or not they carry the family specific BRCA1/2 mutation. The sons and daughters of mutation carriers have a 50 per cent chance of inheriting a mutation, which will increase their risk of developing cancer. Little is known about at-risk men's feelings about the part they play in the transmission of BRCA1/2 mutations within their families. This study investigated high risk men's responses to BRCA1/2 predictive genetic testing. Seventeen in-depth interviews were undertaken with carrier (n= 5) and non-carrier men (n= 12). All men described genetic testing as a familial duty. It is observed that carriers and non-carriers mobilised differing explanations about their role in the aetiology of risk. It is noted that men engage in a form of narrative reconstruction in which they draw upon discourses of guilt and blame or fate and predestiny in an effort to present themselves as morally responsible or blameless. It is argued that narrative reconstruction enables these men to reconcile their genetic identity, self and family.
men, genetic testing, breast cancer, responsibility, narrative reconstruction
0141-9889
969-988
Hallowell, Nina
671cbd1f-fb44-40bc-86eb-be2b1d4d73ed
Ardern-Jones, Audrey
312b76d6-ceac-49a7-b3ef-1b04688686f3
Eeles, Ros
1101f5dc-f8ae-4102-99fb-f814695e5f9c
Foster, Claire L.
00786ac1-bd47-4aeb-a0e2-40e058695b73
Lucassen, Anneke
3f282fe4-b839-443c-8c81-6b8a507153c7
Moynihan, Clare
5830406c-b68c-4ec6-ac83-833c2af9b095
Watson, Maggie
23d88121-d418-4c4e-857f-505c34f8c975
Hallowell, Nina
671cbd1f-fb44-40bc-86eb-be2b1d4d73ed
Ardern-Jones, Audrey
312b76d6-ceac-49a7-b3ef-1b04688686f3
Eeles, Ros
1101f5dc-f8ae-4102-99fb-f814695e5f9c
Foster, Claire L.
00786ac1-bd47-4aeb-a0e2-40e058695b73
Lucassen, Anneke
3f282fe4-b839-443c-8c81-6b8a507153c7
Moynihan, Clare
5830406c-b68c-4ec6-ac83-833c2af9b095
Watson, Maggie
23d88121-d418-4c4e-857f-505c34f8c975

Hallowell, Nina, Ardern-Jones, Audrey, Eeles, Ros, Foster, Claire L., Lucassen, Anneke, Moynihan, Clare and Watson, Maggie (2006) Guilt, blame and responsibility: men's understanding of their role in the transmission of BRCA1/2 mutations within their family. Sociology of Health and Illness, 28 (7), 969-988. (doi:10.1111/j.1467-9566.2006.00515.x). (PMID:17163862)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Men and women who have a family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer may be offered a predictive genetic test to determine whether or not they carry the family specific BRCA1/2 mutation. The sons and daughters of mutation carriers have a 50 per cent chance of inheriting a mutation, which will increase their risk of developing cancer. Little is known about at-risk men's feelings about the part they play in the transmission of BRCA1/2 mutations within their families. This study investigated high risk men's responses to BRCA1/2 predictive genetic testing. Seventeen in-depth interviews were undertaken with carrier (n= 5) and non-carrier men (n= 12). All men described genetic testing as a familial duty. It is observed that carriers and non-carriers mobilised differing explanations about their role in the aetiology of risk. It is noted that men engage in a form of narrative reconstruction in which they draw upon discourses of guilt and blame or fate and predestiny in an effort to present themselves as morally responsible or blameless. It is argued that narrative reconstruction enables these men to reconcile their genetic identity, self and family.

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More information

Published date: November 2006
Keywords: men, genetic testing, breast cancer, responsibility, narrative reconstruction
Organisations: Faculty of Health Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 63987
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/63987
ISSN: 0141-9889
PURE UUID: 71a84612-46ee-45c0-a4eb-d2b0a8511b18
ORCID for Claire L. Foster: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4703-8378

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 21 Nov 2008
Last modified: 10 Dec 2019 01:44

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