Loved Ones’ Experiences Influence Women’s Breast Cancer Prevention Choices, Study Finds

Loved Ones’ Experiences Influence Women’s Breast Cancer Prevention Choices, Study Finds
Women whose loved ones died of cancer are far more likely to consider aggressive approaches to preventing breast cancer than those whose loved ones survived the disease, an Ohio State University study reports. The research, “Experiencing the cancer of a loved one influences decision-making for breast cancer prevention," was published in the Journal of Health Psychology. "The cancer of someone you care about is a lens through which you interpret your own risk," Tasleem Padamsee, the lead author of the study, said in a press release. "Our study suggests that that experience has an impact on how women make decisions about prevention.” Padamsee's team talked with 50 women at higher risk of breast cancer to try to understand why some opt for protective approaches such as medication and others for more aggressive measures, such as breast tissue removal. The study design included open-ended questions to ensure that researchers' ideas about the matter didn’t influence the findings, Padamsee said. "We wanted to understand what information high-risk women are using to make their choices about genetic testing, prophylactic [preventive] surgery and medication," she said. "We were able to learn a lot by listening to" each woman's story. The team found some clear trends in the answers. They divided the women into four categories, based on how they described their family and friends' experiences with cancer. The first category was women with little or no experience w
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