Objective: This study explored motivators and challenges/barriers to sharing personal genetic test results (GTR) with family members (FM).
Methods: Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with 62 women who had a pathogenic or likely pathogenic (P/LP) variant in a BRCA, PALB2, CHEK2, or ATM gene. Selective qualitative data analysis focused on eliciting motivators and challenges/barriers identified by participants when sharing their GTR with FM.
Results: Motivators to sharing personal GTR with FM included: health protection and prevention; moral obligation; decisional empowerment; familial ties; written resources; and contextualization for a familial cause for cancer. Challenges/barriers to family sharing included: concern for FM reactions; complexities of information; lack of closeness; perceived relevance; and emotional impact.
Conclusions: All motivators and challenges/barriers were identified across BRCA and non-BRCA carriers, demonstrating commonalities in family sharing of GTR among high- to moderate-penetrance hereditary BC (breast cancer) genes. Despite challenges/barriers, participants disclosed their GTR with most close FM, yet restrictions in communication and/or strain on the timing, manner of disclosing, and strategies used varied across certain FM.
Practice implications: These findings offer healthcare providers and researchers preliminary practical implications for broadly improving family sharing interventions across P/LP variants in BC risk genes by demonstrating important elements to include in family sharing letters.