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Eur J Cancer. 2005 Jul;41(10):1416-25.

Exploring the course of psychological distress around two successive control visits in women at hereditary risk of breast cancer.

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Department of Medical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


In this article we determined the course of psychological distress during a breast cancer surveillance program in women at increased risk of developing hereditary breast cancer (BC). The sample comprised of 357 unaffected women (mean age 40.5 years) adhering to a surveillance programme (MRISC-study). Before and after two successive biannual surveillance appointments, the Impact of Event Scale (BC-specific distress) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (general distress) were administered, totalling four measurement moments. In general, psychological distress remained within normal limits and decreased significantly after a surveillance appointment, except for breast cancer specific distress after the second appointment. Scheduled imaging examinations were not significantly related to distress. The course of BC specific distress differed significantly for risk over-estimators and for young (<40 years) excessive breast self examiners. The course of general distress differed significantly for women closely involved in a sister's BC-process. These more vulnerable subgroups may be in need of extra counselling and care.

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