Long-term outcomes of genetic counseling in women at increased risk of developing hereditary breast cancer

Patient Educ Couns. 2001 Sep;44(3):215-25. doi: 10.1016/s0738-3991(00)00191-9.


This multicenter study evaluated the impact of genetic counseling in 218 women at risk of developing hereditary breast cancer. Women were assessed prior to counseling and 12-month post-counseling using self-administered, mailed questionnaires. Compared to baseline, breast cancer genetics knowledge was increased significantly at follow-up, and greater increases in knowledge were associated with educational level. Breast cancer anxiety decreased significantly from baseline to follow-up, and these decreases were associated with improvements in perceived risk. A significant decrease in clinical breast examination was observed at the 12-month follow-up. Findings suggest that women with a family history of breast cancer benefit from attending familial cancer clinics as it leads to increases in breast cancer genetics knowledge and decreases in breast cancer anxiety. The lowered rates of clinical breast examination indicate that the content of genetic counseling may need to be reviewed to ensure that women receive and take away the right message.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology
  • Female
  • Genetic Counseling*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Statistics, Nonparametric