Previving: How Unaffected Women with a BRCA1/2 Mutation Navigate Previvor Identity

Hannah Getachew-Smith*, Amy A. Ross, Courtney Elizabeth Lynam Scherr, Marleah Dean, Meredith L. Clements

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Receiving a positive result for a BRCA1/2 (BRCA) mutation–indicating a high lifetime risk to develop hereditary breast and ovarian cancer–can significantly alter a woman’s identity. BRCA-positive women who have not been diagnosed with cancer may be labeled “previvors,” which distinguishes those at-risk for developing cancer, but have not had cancer. Using semi-structured interviews (N = 25), this study explored how unaffected BRCA-positive women navigate the previvor identity. Women in this sample differed on their definitions of previvor, views of acceptance, rejection, or ambivalence toward the label, and identification as a previvor. Understanding how women interpret and embrace the previvor identity may help inform communication for those with BRCA genetic mutations, but whom have not been diagnosed with cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1256-1265
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Communication
Volume35
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 23 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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