Talking About Familial Breast Cancer Risk: Topics and Strategies to Enhance Mother-Daughter Interactions.

Qualitative health research

PubMedID: 24633365

Fisher CL, Maloney E, Glogowski E, Hurley K, Edgerson S, Lichtenthal WG, Kissane D, Bylund C. Talking About Familial Breast Cancer Risk: Topics and Strategies to Enhance Mother-Daughter Interactions. Qual Health Res. 2014;.
A hereditary cancer predisposition can rattle families, creating dysfunctional interactions. Families need assistance navigating conversations about risk. Because mothers and daughters uniquely share breast cancer experiences and risk, there is a particular need for practitioners to assist them with communication. Three focus groups were conducted with 11 mothers with an elevated cancer risk (with adolescent daughters) receiving genetic counseling. We explored three inquiries to capture mother-daughter communication: emergent challenging topics (e.g., health-promotion behavior, daughter's risk, mother's risk of death), factors complicating discussions (e.g., balancing what to share and when, guilt and blaming, confusion about risk and prevention), and strategies enhancing conversations initiated by mothers (e.g., paying attention to daughter's cues) or practitioners (e.g., inviting daughters to appointments). Findings suggested that mothers struggle to balance eliciting daughters' concerns, providing them with support, and imparting knowledge without overwhelming them. We offer mothers and practitioners guidance to help facilitate these conversations.