, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 211-222
Date: 06 Feb 2007

Risk Perception, Worry and Satisfaction Related to Genetic Counseling for Hereditary Cancer

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Abstract

In this multi center study, genetic counseling for hereditary cancer was evaluated by assessing patients’ worry, perceived risk of developing cancer and satisfaction with genetic counseling. An overall aim was to identify characteristics of vulnerable patients in order to customize genetic counseling. In addition, agreement between patients’ and counselors’ scores was measured. A total of 275 Norwegian patients were consecutively recruited, and 213 completed questionnaires before and after genetic counseling. Patients’ perceived risk decreased after the genetic counseling session. There was incongruence between risk perception expressed as a percentage and in words. Patients were significantly less worried after counseling. Higher levels of worry were predicted by low instrumental satisfaction with counseling, high degree of perceived risk of developing cancer and younger age. In conclusion, counselors met the patients’ psychological needs to a satisfactory degree during counseling. However, patients did not fully understand their risk of developing cancer.