Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 360–370 | Cite as

Stigmatization and Male Identity: Norwegian Males’ Experience after Identification as BRCA1/2 Mutation Carriers

  • Nina Strømsvik
  • Målfrid Råheim
  • Nina Øyen
  • Lars Fredrik Engebretsen
  • Eva Gjengedal
Original Research


In families with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, there is limited knowledge about the reactions of BRCA1/2 mutation positive males. In the present qualitative study, fifteen BRCA1/2 mutation positive men in Norway participated in two successive, in-depth interviews. Seven female partners participated in the second interview. The men reported strong emotional reactions to their positive test results, and they expressed a desire to keep the genetic information private. They considered discussing their test results or health related information with other males as difficult, and they perceived females as their sources of social and emotional support. Interestingly, the second interview revealed important information not communicated during the first interview. The findings of this study contribute to the discussion of whether men who test positive for a BRCA1/2 mutation should receive tailored genetic counseling sessions. Health care providers should be aware of psychological vulnerability in these men, likely stemming from fewer emotional supports in their social networks.


Male BRCA1/2 mutation carriers Male genetic stigmatization Men and genetic counseling Breast and ovarian cancer Males in HBOC families 


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Copyright information

© National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nina Strømsvik
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Målfrid Råheim
    • 2
  • Nina Øyen
    • 2
  • Lars Fredrik Engebretsen
    • 1
  • Eva Gjengedal
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Western Norway Familial Cancer CenterHaukeland University HospitalBergenNorway
  2. 2.Department of Public Health and Primary Health CareUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  3. 3.Department of Medical GeneticsUniversity Hospital of North-NorwayTromsøNorway
  4. 4.Faculty of Health and Social CareMolde University CollegeMoldeNorway

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