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Doctor: Don’t Tell Your Kids You’re A Cancer Gene Carrier

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CBS Minnesota (con't)

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Women who have the breast cancer gene are 50 to 80 percent more likely to develop the disease. There’s also a good chance they could pass the gene onto their children.

With that in mind, the following question arises: Should you tell your child you are a carrier?

Researchers in Philadelphia looked at more than 253 parents who had genetic breast cancer testing and found that 66 percent shared their results with their kids. The study showed some of the children were quite young at the time when they received the news from their parents.

There’s a 50 percent chance women with the gene mutation will pass it on to their children; and most doctors think children shouldn’t be tested until they’re in their twenties.

Dr. Freya Schnabel, of New York University’s Langone Medical Center, said parents shouldn’t tell their children about the chance of cancer, because the information does them no good.

“It’s not meaningful for the child, so we shouldn’t subject the child to something that isn’t constructive for them,” she said.

That, however, does not mean that parents shouldn’t tell their offspring when they are older and more capable of using that information.

Now that doctors can isolate the cancer-causing genes, the hope is that scientists will find a way to silence them.

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