Introduction/Background*High cancer risks, as applicable to BRCA1 and BRCA2 pathogenic variant (PV) carriers, can induce significant cancer concerns. We examined the degree of cancer worry and the course of this worry among BRCA1/2-PV carriers opting for surgery to prevent ovarian cancer, and identified factors associated with high cancer worry.
Methodology Cancer worry was evaluated as part of the multicentre, prospective TUBA-study (NCT02321228) in which BRCA1/2-PV carriers choose between the standard risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy or a novel strategy, risk-reducing salpingectomy with delayed oophorectomy. The Cancer Worry Scale was obtained before and three and twelve months after surgery. Cancer worry patterns were analysed using latent class growth analysis and factors associated with cancer worry were identified with regression analysis.
Result(s)*Of all 577 BRCA1/2-PV carriers, 320 (55.5%) had high (≥14) cancer worry pre-surgery and 70.2% had higher cancer worry pre-surgery than post-surgery. Based on the course of cancer worry, BRCA1/2-PV carriers could be classified into three groups: persistently low cancer worry (56.4%), persistently high cancer worry (6.3%), and fluctuating cancer worry that mainly declined over time (37.3%). Factors associated with persistently high cancer concerns were: age below 35 (BRCA1) or 40 (BRCA2) years, unemployment, previous breast cancer diagnosis, lower education and more recent diagnosis with the BRCA-PV.
Conclusion*High cancer worry is common among BRCA1/2-PV carriers and mainly declines after risk-reducing surgery. However, cancer worry remains high in 6% of the women and they should be identified and offered support. It should be realized that in this group, surgery does not reduce cancer concerns.
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