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

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.

  • Willow

    Wow. So if we have a parent who died from cancer, we should lie about it? Just, wow.

    • lisa

      Seriously, how did you get that from this article? It wasn’t anything about lying about someone dying from cancer or even someone that had cancer. It was regarding people that have had genetic testing to see if they were a carrier for the gene that gives them a 50-80% greater likelihood of developing cancer. Why would you tell a kid “hey, I have a gene that means I MIGHT get cancer and you MIGHT have it too!”

      • Willow

        Of course I’d never tell a kid that, but it’s not like just anyone can afford genetic testing. I know my insurance doesn’t cover it, even though my mother had cancer and died from it. I’ve looked into it. It is on the list of things to do if i ever win the lottery.

  • J

    No, if you carry the gene don’t tell your children that t have a 50% chance of also carrying it. Did you read the story?

    • J


  • Scared Silly

    This wouldn’t even be an issue if Obama wasn’t the president.

  • Ace

    What good would it do to know? You’d spend your childhood worrying about it and there wouldn’t be anything you could do anyway. Let your kids have a carefree childhood.

  • Cancer Genes and Kids | Success 4 Your Child

    […] knowing don’t outweigh the negative emotions. New York University’s Langone Medical Center’s Dr. Freya Schnabel does not support parents telling their children of the genetic risks. She says that the knowledge does the children […]

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