Predispositional genetic testing of children for adult-onset health risks is typically only used when prevention and screening measures have utility during childhood. Little is known about how children and their parents may use predispositional risk information, including whether it changes their interactions around risk-reducing prevention and screening behaviors. The current study examined perspectives on family interactions around skin cancer prevention and control practices through 1 year after test reporting and counseling among children who received melanoma predispositional genetic testing and their parents. Eighteen children (50% carriers, 56% male, mean age = 12.4 years) and 11 parents from 11 families participated in semi-structured interviews 1 month and 1 year after receiving the child’s test result. Both parents (73%) and children (50%) reported making changes to family skin cancer prevention and control practices after receiving the test result. Parent- and child-reported discussions about melanoma prevention increased over time (36% parents and 61% children at 1 month, 73% parents and 67% at 1 year). One-quarter (27%) of parents and no children reported having conflicts about sun protection or screening 1 year after test reporting. A majority of parents (63%) reported treating their child differently at the 1-year follow-up, especially among carriers. Predispositional genetic testing for melanoma was associated with reported changes to plans for and discussions about sun protection, and high levels of parent-child collaboration to implement child sun protection. Future work could seek to identify child and parent factors and interactions that predict improved prevention and screening behaviors following pediatric predispositional genetic testing.
- Predispositional genetic testing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health