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Genet Test. 2005 Spring;9(1):66-79.

Risk assessment for inherited susceptibility to cancer: a review of the psychosocial and ethical dimensions.

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Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


The objective of this study was to conduct a broad-based systematic review of social, ethical, and legal considerations associated with genetic cancer risk assessment technologies (CaRATs). This paper focuses on psychosocial and ethical issues. Search results were limited to papers published in English, French, or German from January, 1990, to May, 2003. A quality assessment tool was developed and applied to retrieved papers. Application of the quality assessment tool resulted in 77 of 247 qualitative and quantitative primary research papers being reviewed and synthesized. A broad range of issues were addressed and grouped into content areas. Despite a large literature addressing psychosocial and ethical issues associated with CaRATs, many existing studies are not adequate to inform decision-makers and stakeholders. Careful policy analysis, as in some of the economic analyses reviewed here, is important to bridge this gap.

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