Attitudes toward genetic testing for cancer risk after genetic counseling and decision support: A qualitative comparison between hereditary cancer types

Claire E. Wakefield*, Nadine A. Kasparian, Bettina Meiser, Judi Homewood, Judy Kirk, Kathy Tucker

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This study aimed to qualitatively assess individuals' attitudes toward genetic testing for cancer risk after genetic counseling and decision support. As part of a larger study, 78 women considering genetic testing for hereditary breast/ovarian cancer (HBOC) risk and 22 individuals considering genetic testing for hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) completed an open-ended table of their perceived pros and cons of genetic testing. The most frequently reported pros were "to help manage my risk of developing cancer," "to help my family," and "to know my cancer risk." With regards to risk management, the HBOC group perceived genetic testing as most helpful in informing their general risk management practices, while the HN-PCC group focused on the potential to clarify their need for bowel cancer screening, suggesting that patients' perceptions of the benefits of genetic testing may differ across cancer syndromes. Individuals in both groups expressed concern about the potential psychological impact of genetic testing. We also found that some affected individuals may not fully comprehend the meaning of their potential test results. Eliciting patients' perceived pros and cons during genetic counseling is likely to be a valuable tool for improving patient care. This data also provides an improved evidence base for the development of patient education tools.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)401-411
    Number of pages11
    JournalGenetic Testing
    Volume11
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2007

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