Facilitating Family Communication About Predictive Genetic Testing: Probands’ Perceptions
- Cite this article as:
- Gaff, C.L., Collins, V., Symes, T. et al. J Genet Counsel (2005) 14: 133. doi:10.1007/s10897-005-0412-3
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The responsibility of informing relatives that predictive genetic testing is available often falls to the proband. Support is required during this process, however the perceived utility of genetic counseling and other strategies to facilitate communication have not been explored. We investigated the experiences of 12 individuals with hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) in a semistructured telephone interview. Respondents informed their immediate family about the availability of genetic testing, however many more-distant relatives were not directly informed. Respondents were mostly satisfied with the way they told family members about testing and had mixed views about the usefulness of genetic counseling. Gender differences were observed, with most men expressing a need for guidance or support in communicating to relatives. Letters and booklets were thought to enhance the quality of information but the provision of further aids is unlikely to increase the number of relatives made aware of predictive testing by the proband.