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Scale helps to measure the utility of genetic counseling in tackling fear of cancer
Date:6/8/2011

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From psychology to general medicine

The research study was carried out on 212 healthy women without any family history of breast cancer who attended the ICO Genetic Counselling Unit. Before the experts studied their family trees, the patients answered the test questions. Several days after the genetic counselling, the researchers once again distributed the scales to analyse the effectiveness of this tool.

One of the advantages of this tool is that it can be used in any of the branches of medicine that a patient seeks help from psychology, oncology or even general medicine. "The scale can be used in primary healthcare as a filtering instrument among the healthy population to identify individuals with high levels of concern about cancer", the researchers say.

The simplicity of the questions (for example, "How worried are you about the possibility of developing cancer one day?") and the answers ("Not at all worried/A bit worried/ Quite worried/Very worried") make it possible to easily objectify "something that is difficult to measure", explains Esther Cabrera.

The tool has shown itself to be effective in alerting healthcare professionals to certain healthy patients who are unwilling to undergo preventive testing. "On many occasions, their fears are related to their decision about whether or not to take preventive measures that would help them avoid cancer or diagnose it a very early stage", Cabrera points out.

The researchers add that the tool will be useful for comparing and understanding the factors that affect the degree to which different groups of people worry. This would also make it possible to customise educational initiatives to improve people's quality of life.


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Source:Eurekalert  

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