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A Pilot study of the Sharing Risk Information Tool (ShaRIT) for Families with Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome


Abstract Background Individuals who carry deleterious BRCA mutations face significantly elevated risks of breast, ovarian, and other cancers. These individuals are also responsible for informing relatives of their increased risk for carrying the family BRCA mutation. Few interventions have been developed to facilitate this family communication process. Methods We developed the Sharing Risk Information Tool (ShaRIT), a personalized educational intervention, to support BRCA carriers as they discuss BRCA positive results and their implications with relatives. We conducted a pilot study of 19 BRCA carriers identified through the University of California San Francisco Cancer Risk Program. Our study had two aims: 1) to assess the feasibility and acceptability of ShaRIT, and 2) describe characteristics associated with increased family communication and BRCA testing. Participants in our study were divided into two groups: those who had not received ShaRIT as part of their genetic counseling protocol (control group, n = 10) and those who received ShaRIT (n = 9). Results All 9 women who received ShaRIT reported that it was a useful resource. Characteristics associated with increased sharing and testing included: female gender, degree of relationship, and frequency of communication. Increased pedigree knowledge showed a trend toward higher rates of sharing. Conclusions Both participants and genetic counselors considered ShaRIT a well-received, comprehensive tool for disseminating individual risk information and clinical care guidelines to Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome families. Because of this, ShaRIT has been incorporated as standard of care at our institution. In the future we hope to evaluate the effects of ShaRIT on family communication and family testing in larger populations of BRCA positive families.

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