New roundtable debate: communicating risk in familial cancer

27 Jul 2010

The European commission funded project Eurocancercoms is looking at the information and communication needs of cancer professionals, patients, and their families. One of the current information gaps identified by the project surrounds the risk associated with genetic breast cancer.

Most inherited cases of breast cancer are associated with two genes: BRCA1 and BRCA2. When these genes contain mutations there is an increased risk of breast cancer. Abnormal BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes may account for up to 10% of all breast cancers. Genetic testing can now establish if a patient carries the abnormal gene or not.

However as this is such a new area of medicine, there is a need to evaluate what information currently exists for patients and professionals and how it can be made better.

eurocancercoms hosted a roundtable debate at the European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC 7). Experts in the field of communication and medical genetics: Dr Rachel Iredale, Prof Lesley Fallowfield and Carol Maddock talked to breast cancer advocates: Maureen Gilbert, Cathie Lockenwitz, Francisca Bach Kolling-Dandrieu and Roswitha Britz to discuss communicating risk and information needs of people with a genetic risk of breast cancer.

The film clips are taken from a much longer discussion, and are presented to stimulate comment and debate from the cancer community.

We would like to hear from breast cancer professionals who need to communicate risk to patients

  • How do you communicate risk to your patients?
  • What resources / tools do you use?
  • What would have improved your experience?

Information gathered from your comments will be fed back into the project and will be used to inform recommendations around the communication of risk.

Please watch the videos and comment at the end of the video or this news item.

Watch the debate here:
To take the genetic test or not

Skills of communicators and perception risk

Information and support needs

How can we improve risk communication?

Telling the Family

For further information please contact: