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Cancer Genetics Risk Assessment and Counseling (PDQ®): Genetics - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Cancer Risk Assessment and Counseling

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Some studies of patient satisfaction with cancer genetic counseling services have been published. For example, one survey of individuals who participated in a cancer genetics program in its inaugural year reported that the clinical services met the needs and expectations of most people.[54] Patients reported that the best parts of the experience were simply having a chance to talk to someone about cancer concerns, having personalized summary letters and family pedigrees, learning that cancer risk was lower than expected, or realizing that one had been justified in suspecting the inheritance of cancer in one's family.

Several studies have since shown that the majority of individuals are satisfied with their genetic counseling experience.[55,56,57,58] However, one study of 61 women participating in a BRCA1/2 genetic testing program found that satisfaction with genetic counseling was influenced by psychological variables including optimism, family functioning, and general and cancer-specific distress.[59]

A meta-analysis of several controlled studies showed that outcomes of genetic counseling included improvement in cancer genetic knowledge (pooled short-term difference – 0.70 U, 95% confidence interval, 0.15–1.26 U). Overall, no long-term increases in general anxiety, cancer-specific worry, distress, or depression were detected as a consequence of genetic counseling. However, the impact of genetic counseling on risk perception is less clear, with some studies reporting no change in risk perception while others report significant differences before and after counseling.[60]

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Last Updated: February 25, 2014
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