Emotional distress associated with genetic testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome (HBOC) is reported to interfere with adherence to treatment and prophylactic measures and compromise quality of life.
To determine levels of anxiety, depression, and quality of life in patients tested for pathogenic BRCA1/2 mutations and identify risk factors for the development of adverse psycho-emotional effects.
Cross-sectional observational trial involving 178 breast or ovarian cancer patients from a referral cancer hospital in Northeastern Brazil. Information was collected with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Quality of Life (QoL) questionnaire (WHOQOL-BREF).
Patients suspected of HBOC had higher levels of anxiety than depression. The presence of (probably) pathogenic BRCA1/2 mutations did not affect levels of anxiety and depression. High schooling, history of psychiatric disease, and use of psychotropic drugs were directly associated with high anxiety. High schooling was too inversely associated with QoL as such a breast tumor. Anxiety and depression were directly correlated and both reduced significantly QoL.
Our results highlight the importance of psychological support and screening of risk factors for anxiety and depression and low QoL in HBOC patients at the time of testing.
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Research Sponsor: Ministerio da Saude, Brazil (PRONON).
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The study received approval from the Ethics and Research Committee No. 3,286,353, and all participants signed the free and informed consent form.
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Oliveira, F.F.B., de Barros Silva, P.G., de Sant’Ana, R.O. et al. How does genetic testing influence anxiety, depression, and quality of life? A hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome suspects trial. Support Care Cancer 29, 3521–3530 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-020-05867-2
- Breast cancer
- Hereditary breast and ovarian carcinoma syndrome
- Quality of life