Quality of Life Research

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 461–470 | Cite as

Quality of Life and its Relation to Cancer-Related Stress in Women of Families with Hereditary Cancer without Demonstrated Mutation

  • Amy Østertun GeirdalEmail author
  • Lovise Mæhle
  • Ketil Heimdal
  • Astrid Stormorken
  • Pål Møller
  • Alv A. Dahl


Background: Although quality of life (QoL) and mental distress in women belonging to familial cancer families have been studied, little is known on these matters in women with absence of demonstrated mutations. The aim of this study was to examine QoL and cancer-related distress in such women. Methods: About 330 women at risk for familial cancers in the absence of demonstrated mutations were invited to the study. About 239 women (72%) (risk group) completed the Short Form 12 (SF-12) and the Impact of Event Scale (IES). The SF-12-findings were compared to the age-adjusted findings from the general female population (controls). Results: The risk group had significantly better physical QoL than controls, while no significant difference was found for mental QoL. Within the risk group the type of familial cancer did not make a significant difference in QoL, but to have a father with cancer or a deceased parent, was associated with increased risk of being a case with low QoL. Mental QoL showed moderate correlation with cancer-related distress. Conclusions: : Women belonging to familial cancer families in the absence of demonstrated mutations had at least as good QoL as controls in spite of living with a permanent cancer-related threat.


Familial cancer Impact of Event Scale Mental distress Quality of life Short Form 12 Unknown mutation 



95% confidence intervals


familial breast and ovarian cancer


hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer


The International Collaborative Group on HNPCC


impact of event scale


impact of event scale – avoidance subscale


impact of event scale – intrusion subscale


mental component scale (of the SF-12)


health-related quality of life


physical component scale (of the SF-12)


short form 12


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amy Østertun Geirdal
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lovise Mæhle
    • 1
  • Ketil Heimdal
    • 1
  • Astrid Stormorken
    • 1
  • Pål Møller
    • 1
  • Alv A. Dahl
    • 2
  1. 1.Section for Genetic Counselling, Department of Cancer GeneticsRikshospitalet-Radiumhospitalet TrustMontebello, OsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Cancer ResearchRikshospitalet-Radiumhospitalet TrustOsloNorway

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