Exploration of Male Attitudes on Partnerships and Sexuality with Female BRCA1/2 Mutation Carriers

Caitlin Mauer*, Sara Spencer, Jeffery Dungan, Karen Hurley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Women with BRCA mutations are inundated with decisions about managing cancer risks and childbearing considerations. Decisions become more complicated when women face disclosing their mutation and risk-reduction options to a romantic partner. This study identifies the concerns and perspectives of male romantic partners regarding these unique decisions. Twenty-five male participants completed an online survey posted to cancer support group message boards. Participants reported relationship changes regarding intimacy levels (n = 9), attraction (n = 2), and communication (n = 22) after mutation disclosure. Participants whose partners had not undergone prophylactic mastectomy (n = 14) reported concerns regarding sexual relations (n = 5), post-surgical appearance (n = 2), post-surgical attraction (n = 5), and health/lifespan (n = 9). Participants did not express attitude changes toward childbearing. While mutation disclosure conversations and surgical options are concerns for many BRCA mutation carriers in relationships, male partners share these concerns. Aspects of the relationship may change, but male study participants continued to support their partners. This information can benefit female BRCA mutation carriers, their current or future partners, and genetic counselors working with this particular population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-297
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Genetic Counseling
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Attitudes
  • BRCA
  • Cancer
  • Male partners
  • Oncology
  • Risk reducing
  • Sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)


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