Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Qual Health Res. 2011 Apr;21(4):502-19. doi: 10.1177/1049732310387798. Epub 2010 Oct 27.

Preserving the self: the process of decision making about hereditary breast cancer and ovarian cancer risk reduction.

Author information

  • 1School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Women who carry BRCA1 or BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) gene mutations have up to an 88% lifetime risk of breast cancer and up to a 65% lifetime risk of ovarian cancer. Strategies to address these risks include cancer screening and risk-reducing surgery (i.e., mastectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy). We conducted a grounded theory study with 22 BRCA1/2 mutation-carrier women to understand how women make decisions about these risk-reducing strategies. Preserving the self was the overarching decision-making process evident in the participants' descriptions. This process was shaped by contextual conditions including the characteristics of health services, the nature of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer risk-reduction decisions, gendered roles, and the women's perceived proximity to cancer. The women engaged in five decision-making styles, and these were characterized by the use of specific decision-making approaches. These findings provide theoretical insights that could inform the provision of decisional support to BRCA1/2 carriers.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk