Distress and family functioning in oncogenetic counselling for hereditary and familial breast and/or ovarian cancers

J Genet Couns. 2007 Oct;16(5):625-34. doi: 10.1007/s10897-007-9102-7. Epub 2007 Aug 15.


We conducted a psychological assessment during oncogenetic counseling for hereditary breast/ovarian cancer. Anxiety and depression were assessed with the HAD scale, and family functioning and satisfaction with FACES III. HAD was administered at baseline (t(1)), at risk communication (t(2)), at genetic test result communication, or at first surveillance in not tested subjects (t(3)); FACES III was administered at baseline only. We analysed a total of 185 questionnaires administered to the 37 subjects studied. Although not pathological, distress was significantly higher at t(2) and t(3) (p = 0.027 and p = 0.039, respectively). Health and marital status were significantly associated with distress. In a disease-free condition, anxiety was higher (p = 0.027) at t(2), and for single status, depression increased from t(1) to t(2) (p = 0.026). Families were perceived to be well functioning, and subjects were satisfied with their families. The data collected in this analysis could help to improve the quality of oncogenetic counselling in clinical practice.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Genetic Counseling*
  • Humans
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological*