Breast cancer risk counseling improves women's functioning

Patient Educ Couns. 2004 Apr;53(1):79-86. doi: 10.1016/S0738-3991(03)00122-8.


Helping people cope with health risks is an important area for research and practice. Counseling offers people the opportunity to relieve their distress and improve the ways in which they manage their health issues. This study was a randomized test of two different counseling methods, genetic and psychosocial counseling, compared to a control group. Eligibility requirements included being between 18 and 74 years old, having at least one relative with breast cancer, not having a family history consistent with carrying a BRCA1/2 mutation for breast cancer risk, having no personal history of breast or ovarian cancer, living within 60 miles of the research institute, and willingness to complete the research requirements of the project. Perceived risk decreased by 50% for participants in the two counseling groups relative to comparison participants. Cancer worry decreased in both counseling groups by one scale point (P < 0.05). These results indicate that counseling can relieve women's negative reactions to breast cancer risk.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Breast Neoplasms* / etiology
  • Breast Neoplasms* / prevention & control
  • Counseling / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genes, BRCA1
  • Genes, BRCA2
  • Genetic Counseling / organization & administration*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Patient Education as Topic / organization & administration*
  • Pedigree
  • Program Evaluation
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Assessment / organization & administration*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Women's Health
  • Women* / education
  • Women* / psychology