Study by Michel Dorval, K. Bouchard, and colleagues (Journal of Genetic Counseling, Vol. 17, No. 4, August 2008, Pages 314-326), looked at breast cancer screening practices, lifestyle behaviors and psychological distress among 640 women initiating BRCA1/2 testing.
Results determined that women initiating BRCA1/2 testing were significantly more distressed than controls, suggesting that it is necessary to provide psychosocial support to all women undergoing BRCA1/2 testing at pre-test genetic counseling.
The study objective was to compare breast cancer screening practices, lifestyle behaviors and psychological distress among 640 women initiating BRCA1/2 testing to those among 9,498 similarly-aged women from the general population. Health behaviors and psychological distress were reported in a self-administered questionnaire at pre-test genetic counseling. Regression analyses indicate that high-risk women were more frequently performing breast cancer screening and, in the case of those previously diagnosed with cancer, were more likely to be non-smokers and physically active than women from general population. However, women initiating BRCA1/2 testing were significantly more distressed than controls. Globally, high-risk women seemed to be well informed about recommendations for women who are at high risk and to have access to screening adapted to their risk level. Given their significant psychological distress, providing minimal psychosocial support to all women undergoing BRCA1/2 testing at pre-test genetic counseling is relevant.
Michel Dorval, Faculte de pharmacie, Universite Laval, Quebec, Canada.
(C) (Journal of Genetic Counseling press release.
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