Genetic Testing for Breast and Ovarian Cancer Susceptibility: A Family Experience

Marcia Van Riper, RN, PhD


J Midwifery Womens Health. 2004;49(3) 

In This Article


Genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility is a family experience that often results in family members confronting complex ethical, legal, and psychosocial issues. Because of this, it is imperative that midwives and other health care providers have a good understanding of the benefits, risks, and limitations of the genetic tests that are currently being offered for breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility. In addition, they need to be aware of the ethical, legal, and social implications of these tests. The following quote by Juengst[75] underscores why midwives and other health care providers need this knowledge.

The promise of accessible genetic information lies in its ability to allow individuals and families to identify, understand, and sometimes control their inherited health risks. This promise puts the individual and families that receive genetic services at the moral center of the enterprise: if genetic assessment is to be judged a success, it must be from the recipient's point of view, in terms of their ability to use the information to enrich their lives (p. 190).


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