BRCA1 genetic mutation and its link to ovarian cancer: implications for advanced practice nurses.

Amy N. Brunsvold, Shu Fen Wung, Carrie J. Merkle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

PURPOSE: The purpose of this paper is to review (a) the linkage between the BRCA1 gene and ovarian cancer and (b) BRCA1 testing and its related issues. This review is aimed for nurse practitioners (NPs), who may be in positions to identify those at risk for BRCA1-associated ovarian cancer and to assist patients with related issues. DATA SOURCES: Data sources include reviews and original research from scholarly journals and Internet sites. CONCLUSIONS: Ovarian cancer is a deadly disease. Identification of those at risk because of BRCA1 mutation is possible through genetic testing. Testing for BRCA1 gene mutations has many implications whether results are positive or negative. Those with positive results will be faced with decisions regarding the best management strategies. Negative results do not completely eliminate ovarian cancer risk. Current management options for carriers of the BRCA1 mutation include taking no action, increasing surveillance for ovarian cancer, and chemoprevention with oral contraceptives or prophylactic oophorectomy for those who have completed childbearing. It is essential that NPs have knowledge underlying the issues and concerns of patients and their families at risk for BRCA1-associated ovarian cancer. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: NPs are in a unique position to help identify BRCA1 mutation carriers and to assist them and their families with the complex issues involving genetic testing and management options. Understanding these issues will allow NPs to give appropriate care that may include making appropriate referrals to certified genetic counselors and having balanced discussions on treatment options. Such measurements may improve early diagnosis of ovarian cancer and increase survival from this disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)518-526
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
Volume17
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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