Pathogenic variants in moderate penetrance breast cancer susceptibility genes, such as ATM and CHEK2, confer a two- to five-fold increased lifetime risk for breast cancer. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network has guidelines for breast surgeons to utilize when counseling women with pathogenic variants in these genes; however, previous studies indicate that other factors impact breast surgeons' recommendations to patients. This study investigated factors influencing management recommendations presented by breast surgeons to women with pathogenic variants in moderate penetrance breast cancer susceptibility genes. Focus groups and interviews were conducted with breast surgeons practicing in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. A total of 15 breast surgeons from eight different hospitals participated in five focus groups and three individual interviews. Participants discussed factors they consider when making management recommendations for risk reduction in women with pathogenic variants in moderate penetrance breast cancer susceptibility genes. Participants provided risk management recommendations for given scenarios. Patient motivation/opinion, family history, patient current health status, patient personal preference, and patient anxiety level were among the most common factors mentioned. It appeared that how these factors are valued and applied in practice varies. There was no consensus among breast surgeons on which risk-reducing management options they would recommend in each scenario. There are many factors breast surgeons take into consideration when making recommendations for this patient population. This information could inform future research on decision making around treatment for individuals with pathogenic variants in moderate penetrance breast cancer susceptibility genes.
Keywords: breast cancer; decision making; moderate penetrance; risk management; surgeon.
© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Genetic Counseling published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of National Society of Genetic Counselors.