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J Psychosom Res. 2003 Nov;55(5):427-35.

The experience of loss and anticipation of distress in colorectal cancer patients undergoing genetic testing.

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  • 1Familial Gastrointestinal Cancer Registry, Mount Sinai Hospital, 600 University Avenue, M5G 1X5 Toronto, ON, Canada.



The purpose of this paper is to describe pretest psychological functioning in a sample of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients undergoing genetic testing. We also explored the relationship among demographic, medical, family history and loss variables and current pretest distress, and those related to anticipated posttest distress.


This paper reports pretest findings from a prospective, longitudinal psychosocial survey. Data are presented on 220 CRC patients at pretest.


We found a subgroup of CRC patients that are currently distressed and anticipate becoming depressed if they receive a positive genetic test result. There were significant associations among pretest distress, family history of CRC and loss related to CRC and anticipation of becoming depressed at posttest.


The findings suggest that a subgroup of CRC patient's experience or anticipate distress that may warrant attention. Family history of CRC and losses related to CRC may be important indicators of posttest adjustment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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