Date: August 2000
Creator: Lesniak, Karen
Description: Mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2, the first two breast cancer susceptibility genes identified, carry as much as an 85% lifetime risk of developing breast, ovarian or other cancers. Genetic testing for mutations in these two genes has recently become commercially available. There have been varying amounts of psychological distress noted among women with a family history of breast cancer. Distress has been observed to impact psychological functioning, activities of daily living, and the practice of breast cancer surveillance behaviors. Within the genetic screening process, psychological distress has been shown to impact the decision to undergo genetic screening, the comprehension and retention of risk assessment information, as well as affecting the subject following the receipt of the genetic test results. Little work has been done to examine predictors of distress within at risk subjects. This study examines psychological distress among 52 community women presenting for BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutation testing. Predictors of distress included family cancer history, education, age, Ashkenazi ethnicity, and Internality and Powerful Others Health Locus of Control. Vulnerable sub-groups of patients include younger women, women with higher levels of education and women of Ashkenazi ethnicity.
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