Psychological impact of screening for familial ovarian cancer: reactions to initial assessment

Gynecol Oncol. 1997 May;65(2):197-205. doi: 10.1006/gyno.1997.4686.


Objectives: To assess the psychological impact on women attending a familial ovarian cancer screening clinic.

Study methods: 157 women referred for screening completed an investigator designed questionnaire, the Spielberger State Trait Anxiety Scale and the Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale prior to the screening interview and an eight-item questionnaire post-assessment.

Results: 95.4% saw the screening as valuable. Thirty-one point four percent of all patients scored about the cutoff point for depression. Sixteen percent exhibited high levels of anxiety. Fifty-six point four percent of patients accurately perceived their risk. Twenty-one point five percent of those who accurately perceived themselves as being at high risk had high anxiety and 40.6% reported significant depressive symptoms. Of the 26.5% of patients who overestimated their risks, 40.0% reported significant depressive symptoms and 22.6% were anxious. Of the 17.1% who minimized their risk, none were anxious (0.0%), and only 15.8% were depressed.

Conclusion: Attendees at a familial ovarian cancer screening clinic may have high levels of depression and anxiety.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Anxiety / etiology*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires