Psychosocial and behavioral impact of genetic counseling and testing.
ABSTRACT Over a decade has passed since the clinical availability of BRCA1/2 mutation testing for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC). The purpose of this article is to review key areas of psychosocial and behavioral research related to genetic counseling and testing for BRCA1/2 mutations. Special attention will be given to understudied issues within each of these key areas. Where appropriate, the article will also highlight the clinical and research experiences of the authors. The first area that will be reviewed is the impact of genetic testing on psychological well-being. This will be followed by a brief discussion of a practical assessment strategy for psychosocial distress in clinical settings. Next, published data on the uptake of risk management options based on genetic testing results as well as the psychosocial impact of these behaviors will be reviewed. Thirdly, research focused on understanding the decision making at various points in the genetic counseling and testing process will also be examined. Finally, the available research on genetic counseling and testing in minority communities will be presented. By recognizing and addressing the psychosocial and behavioral issues faced by patients undergoing BRCA1/2 genetic counseling and testing, researchers and providers have the potential to maximize opportunities for prevention, early detection, and healthy coping.
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ABSTRACT: Pilot study to evaluate whether the use of a standardized questionnaire to document family history of cancer improves identification of women who warrant referral to cancer genetic services (CGS) for increased risk of hereditary cancer, compared to their identification in usual care. Prospective intervention study with historic control group. Gynecology outpatient clinic, Maastricht University Medical Centre, the Netherlands. The prospective intervention group consisted of new outpatients between June 1 and August 1, 2011. The historic control group consisted of new outpatients between May 1, 2009 and April 30, 2010. A standardized questionnaire based on established referral criteria for hereditary breast/ovarian cancer and Lynch syndrome was completed for the intervention group. The referral rate in routine consultation, based on non-standardized family history recording, was determined retrospectively for the control group. The difference in referral rate between intervention and control group, tested by Chi square test. In the control group, 8 of 3,036 women (0.26 %) were referred to CGS. In the intervention group, 209 (42 %) of 500 screening questionnaires were completed. Nineteen women (9, 1 %) met the referral guidelines, of which 5 were newly referred to CGS (2, 4 %). Referral rates differed significantly (p < 0.001) between the two groups. This pilot study shows that the routine use of a screening questionnaire may improve detection and referral rate to CGS of individuals at risk for hereditary cancer. Improving genetic literacy of physicians and use of web-site questionnaires deserve attention in future studies.Familial Cancer 03/2014; · 1.94 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This paper presents a case example of a young woman at genetic risk for future cancer. We discuss psychosocial challenges that adolescents and young adults (AYAs) may share with their cancer survivor peers, and describe an example of psychosocial care. A scientific foundation denoting the needs of AYAs at risk for heritable cancers is lacking, and it is unknown if these AYAs receive adequate support services. This is a call to action for practitioners and researchers to engage in initiatives that assure these AYAs have access to valuable support and more clearly mark their place within the spectrum of AYA oncology.Journal of adolescent and young adult oncology. 09/2013; 2(3):130-132.
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ABSTRACT: Up to three-quarters of individuals who undergo cancer genetic counseling and testing report psychosocial problems specifically related to that setting. The objectives of this study were to develop and evaluate the screening properties of a questionnaire designed to assess specific psychosocial problems related to cancer genetic counseling. We adopted the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Group guidelines to develop the Psychosocial Aspects of Hereditary Cancer (PAHC) questionnaire, a 26-item questionnaire organized into six problem domains: genetics, practical issues, family, living with cancer, emotions, and children. The Distress Thermometer and a question per domain on the perceived need for extra psychosocial services were included as well. We administered the questionnaire and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale to 127 counselees at the time of genetic counseling and 3 weeks after DNA test disclosure. As a gold standard to evaluate the screening properties of the questionnaire, participants underwent a semi-structured interview with an experienced social worker who assessed the presence and severity of problems per domain. A cutoff score representing responses of 'quite a bit' or 'very much' to one or more items within a given problem domain yielded moderate to high sensitivity across domains. A cutoff of 4 on the Distress Thermometer yielded high sensitivity. The questions regarding the perceived need for extra psychosocial services yielded high specificity and negative predictive values. The Psychosocial Aspects of Hereditary Cancer questionnaire in combination with the Distress Thermometer can be used as a first-line screener for psychosocial problems within the cancer genetic counseling setting. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.Psycho-Oncology 01/2014; · 4.04 Impact Factor