Communicating cancer risk information: the challenges of uncertainty

Patient Educ Couns. 1998 Jan;33(1):67-81. doi: 10.1016/s0738-3991(97)00047-5.


Developments in predictive testing for inherited cancers have focused attention on the accurate and sensitive communication of risk information. Although sharing risk information is often equated with genetic testing, it is important to acknowledge that the need for risk information related to familial cancer is also relevant to those not eligible for, or interested in, testing. Communicating cancer risk information is germane to a number of health professions including physicians, geneticists, genetic counsellors, psychologists, nurses, health educators and social workers. Based on a literature review of 75 research reports, expert opinion papers and clinical protocols, we provide a synthesis of what is known about the communication of cancer risk information and make recommendations for the enhancement of knowledge and practice in the field.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Female
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Risk Assessment*
  • Truth Disclosure