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Pre-test genetic counseling increases cancer knowledge for BRCA patients
Date:8/14/2012

Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center have found that when breast cancer patients are offered pre-test genetic counseling before definitive breast cancer surgery, patients exhibited decreases in distress. Those offered pre-test genetic counseling after surgery improved their informed decision-making. Patients in both groups showed increases in their cancer knowledge with pre-test genetic counseling.

The study, funded by the American Cancer Society, appeared in a recent issue of the Annals of Surgical Oncology.

Given the role of breast cancer gene status in treatment and risk management, breast cancer patients with certain risk factors may benefit from pre-test genetic counseling and genetic testing at or near the time of initial diagnosis, suggested the researchers.

"However, health care providers may be concerned that women with cancer may be at increased risk for distress, particularly if genetic counseling and genetic testing occur at a time near cancer diagnosis and treatment," said study lead co-author Susan T. Vadaparampil, Ph.D., an associate member of Health Outcomes & Behavior at Moffitt. "Yet, few studies have examined whether this is the case, and little is known about the specific impact of pre-test genetic counseling on cancer knowledge, psychosocial adjustment and decision-making about genetic testing for breast cancer patients before or during treatment."

To address this question, Vadaparampil and colleagues recently completed a study of 103 patients, 87 who had undergone surgery and 16 who had not. They ranged in age from 24 to 69. Patients enrolled in this study met with a master's degree-level, trained genetic health professional to obtain a risk assessment based on personal and family genetic history. Patients also received education about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and discussed the limitations of genetic testing.

"Before surgery, patients may feel overwhelmed by additional risk
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Contact: Kim Polacek
kim.polacek@moffitt.org
813-745-7408
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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