Psychosocial consequences of genetic counseling: a population-based follow-up study

Ellen M Mikkelsen, Lone Sunde, Christoffer Johansen, Søren P Johnsen

Abstract

We aimed to examine the psychosocial impact of genetic counseling for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer 1 year following genetic counseling. We conducted a population-based prospective follow-up study of 213 women who received genetic counseling for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, 319 women who underwent mammography (Reference Group I), and a random sample of 1,070 women from the general population (Reference Group II). The prevalence of anxiety decreased by 4.7% (95% CI: -3.5; 12.8) from baseline to 1 year of follow-up in the Genetic Counseling Group. Likewise, it decreased by 2.5% (95% CI: -4.5; 9.5) in Reference Group I and by 1.1% (95% CI: -2.3; 4.7) in Reference Group II. The prevalence of depression increased equally (1-3%) in the three study groups. 52% of the women referred for genetic counseling experienced cancer-specific distress at baseline and this proportion decreased to 41% after 12 months of follow-up. This decrease of 10.8% (95% CI: 1.4; 20.8) exceeded the decrease observed in both Reference Groups. However, it was statistically significant only in the case of Reference Group II (p=0.006). Our findings indicate that genetic counseling can help alleviate cancer-specific distress among women with a family history of breast and ovarian cancer. Further, genetic counseling does not appear to have an adverse impact on general anxiety, symptoms of depression, or health-related quality of life.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftThe Breast Journal
Vol/bind15
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)61-8
Antal sider8
ISSN1075-122X
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2009
Udgivet eksterntJa

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