Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 118–124 | Cite as

Focusing on Patient Needs and Preferences May Improve Genetic Counseling for Colorectal Cancer

  • Simone Salemink
  • Nicky Dekker
  • Carolien M. Kets
  • Erica van der Looij
  • Wendy A. G. van Zelst-Stams
  • Nicoline HoogerbruggeEmail author
Original Research


During cancer genetic counseling, different items which counselors consider important are discussed. However, relatively little empirical evidence exists regarding the needs and preferences of counselees. In this study needs and preferences were assessed from counselees with a personal and/or family history of colorectal cancer (CRC), who were referred for genetic counseling regarding CRC. They received a slightly modified version of the QUOTE-GENEca questionnaire prior to their first visit to the Hereditary Cancer Clinic. Response rate was 60 % (48/80 participants). Counselees rated the importance of 45 items assessing their needs and preferences regarding the content and process of genetic counseling. Participants rated the items regarding discussion of information about their familial CRC risk (100 %) and preventive options (98 %) as important or very important. Fewer participants rated items concerning general information on genetics as important. Sensitive communication during counseling was considered very important by a large percentage of counselees. Generally, no major differences were seen between participants in relation to individual characteristics. Our data suggest that focusing on familial CRC risk and surveillance options, in combination with sensitive communication may lead to better satisfaction with genetic counseling.


Genetic counseling Patient preferences Colorectal neoplasms 



We would like to thank the participants in this study, Dr. P. Manders for her help with the statistical analyses, and Dr. A. Sie for her help with the grammar. This study was supported by a grant from ZonMw—the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (no. 80-82315-98-09005) and was approved by the Committee on Research Involving Human Subjects of the region Arnhem-Nijmegen (ABR no. NL25311.091.08).

Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2012

Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simone Salemink
    • 1
  • Nicky Dekker
    • 1
    • 2
  • Carolien M. Kets
    • 1
  • Erica van der Looij
    • 1
  • Wendy A. G. van Zelst-Stams
    • 1
  • Nicoline Hoogerbrugge
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Human Genetics 836Radboud University Nijmegen Medical CentreNijmegenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Scientific Institute for Quality of HealthcareRadboud University Nijmegen Medical CentreNijmegenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Medical OncologyRadboud University Nijmegen Medical CentreNijmegenThe Netherlands

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