Cancer-related distress in unselected women with newly diagnosed breast or ovarian cancer undergoing BRCA1/2 testing without pretest genetic counseling
SourceActa Oncologica, 58, 2, (2019), pp. 175-181
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectRadboudumc 14: Tumours of the digestive tract RIMLS: Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences
BACKGROUND: Genetic testing is increasing in patients newly diagnosed with cancer. This study investigated the levels, course and predictors of cancer-related distress, defined as intrusion and avoidance, in women undergoing BRCA1/2 testing without pretest genetic counseling shortly after a diagnosis of breast or ovarian cancer. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Unselected for family history or age, 259 women with breast cancer and 50 women with ovarian cancer, underwent BRCA1/2 testing shortly after diagnosis. Cancer-related distress was measured with the Impact of Event Scale before and after genetic testing. In order to identify predictors of distress, the subscale scores were regressed on baseline predictor variables including sociodemographic and medical variables, perceived social support, and decisional conflict regarding genetic testing. RESULTS: The mean levels of intrusion and avoidance were in the moderate range both before and after genetic testing with a statistically significant decline during follow-up. Younger age, shorter time since diagnosis, lower levels of social support, and a diagnosis of ovarian cancer predicted higher levels of both intrusion and avoidance. In addition, higher levels of decisional conflict and living with a partner predicted higher levels of intrusion. CONCLUSIONS: Women having genetic testing shortly after a diagnosis of breast or ovarian cancer had a moderate mean level of cancer-related distress, which decreased with time. Health personnel offering genetic testing to newly diagnosed women with breast or ovarian cancer should be aware of the potential predictors for increased cancer-related distress identified in this study: younger age, less perceived social support, higher levels of decisional conflict regarding genetic testing, and living with a partner.
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