Sharing Info about a Genetic Mutation in the Family


If genetic testing reveals that you carry a genetic mutation that increases the risk of hereditary cancer, communicating this fact to relatives who might also share the same variant isn’t always the easiest thing to do. But it can be life-saving. Who do you share the information with? How do you share the information? And what information do you include?

I’ve created these two simple tools that can be downloaded from my website, www.genetionary.org, that might help. (And thanks to a certified genetic counselor and really nice person for all the help on the checklist!)

Knowing and sharing family health and cancer history is so important. I should have two previvors* in my family instead of just one. Relatives’ failure to share detailed information about a known BRCA2 mutation in her family robbed my wife of her life. Using these simple tools will go a long way in helping to prevent a similar tragedy.

*Someone who carries a genetic mutation, but doesn’t have cancer.