Familial Cancer

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 327–335 | Cite as

Acceptance of Preventive Surgeries by Israeli Women Who had Undergone BRCA Testing

Original Paper


Using a specially constructed questionnaire, the effect of BRCA test results for the Jewish founder mutations and genetic counseling on womenȁ9s attitudes towards and acceptance of preventive surgeries was evaluated. The subjects consisted of 99 women 43% of whom were found to be carriers as opposed to 57%––non-carriers. After learning of their genetic status, 94% of the carriers and 28% of the non-carriers declared having positively considered the option of preventive oophorectomy. However, only about 25% of the carriers and 4.5% of the non-carriers had positively considered the option of preventive mastectomy. In practice, 78% of the carriers and 18% of the non-carriers who proved to be eligible for these procedures underwent preventive oophorectomy compared with 19% of carriers and 1.8% of non-carriers who underwent preventive mastectomy. Almost all carriers, as well as a majority of the non-carriers, who finally opted for the preventive surgeries did so after learning the result of their genetic test. The different attitudes toward the two surgeries were found to be based on varied beliefs regarding the two procedures. Preventive oophorectomy was perceived as being more acceptable to women than preventive mastectomy both from an attitudinal as well as practical aspect. These differences may be the result of cultural factors, of womenȁ9s trust in the ability of screening tests to prevent morbidity and/or mortality, of the effect of the surgeries on body image and of different counseling protocols.

Key words

Attitudes BRCA Preventive oophorectomy Preventive mastectomy 


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We would like to express our gratitude to the women who participated in the study for sharing their experience and thoughts; to the program nurse, Ms. Michele Gordon, for her assistance in coordinating the study, to our lab technicians who performed DNA testing and to Mr. Morris Kram for his assistance in editing this manuscript. This research was supported by the HWZOA Research Fund for Womenȁ9s Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human GeneticsHadassah Hebrew University HospitalJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.Sharett Institute Hadassah Hebrew University HospitalJerusalemIsrael

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