- Breast cancer genetic counseling after diagnosis but before treatment: a pilot study on treatment consequences and psychological impact
- Patient Education and Counseling
- Volume | Issue number
- 89 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Female breast cancer patients carrying a BRCA1/2-mutation have an increased risk of second primary breast and ovarian tumors. Little is known about the psychological impact and treatment consequences of rapid genetic counseling and testing offered between breast cancer diagnosis and surgery.
Female breast cancer patients, who had received rapid genetic counseling (and optional testing) (RGC(T)) at The Netherlands Cancer Institute between 2004 and 2008, received a questionnaire in 2009.
BRCA-mutations were found in 10 of the 26 participants. Six mutation-carriers (60%) had an immediate bilateral mastectomy, compared with 25% of those without a mutation. Five patients (19%) reported having frequent worries about cancer recurrence; none indicated that such worries impaired daily functioning. Six patients had clinically relevant levels of breast cancer-specific distress at the time of assessment.
These results suggest that RGC(T) in high-risk breast cancer patients may influence surgical treatment, without causing long-term psychosocial distress in the majority.
These results are important, since rapid genetic counseling and testing are expected to be offered to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients with increasing frequency in order to inform these women and their surgeons about the possible familial/hereditary nature of their disease before deciding on treatment.
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