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Eur J Hum Genet. 2003 Oct;11(10):725-36.

Risk communication strategies: state of the art and effectiveness in the context of cancer genetic services.

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1INSERM U379, Epidemiology and Social Sciences Applied to Medical Innovation, Institut Paoli-Calmettes, Marseille, France.


The objective of this paper is first to describe the different strategies used to communicate risks to patients in the field of cancer or genetics, to review their effectiveness, and to summarise the state of the art of this practice in particular, in cancer genetics. The target audience is health care professionals involved in the communication of cancer risks, and genetic risks of breast/ovarian or colorectal cancer in particular. The methods include a review of the literature (Medline, Pascal, PsycInfo, Embase) by a panel of researchers and clinicians (cancer geneticists, epidemiologists, health psychologists, sociologists) in the context of a European Project on risk communication. We highlight practices that have been shown to be effective in the context of health psychology research and those being still under consideration for use in routine practice. In conclusion, this paper adds clinical relevance to the research evidence. We propose specific steps that could be integrated in standard clinical practice based on current evidence for their usefulness/effectiveness.

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