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Genet Test Mol Biomarkers. 2009 Jun;13(3):325-30. doi: 10.1089/gtmb.2008.0126.

Identification of patients at high risk of psychological distress after BRCA1 genetic testing.

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Department of Genetics and Pathology, International Hereditary Cancer Center, Pomeranian Medical University, Szczecin, Poland.


To predict which women might suffer from abnormally high levels of anxiety and depression after receiving a positive genetic BRCA1 test result, series of pregenetic testing and postgenetic testing psychological measurements were performed. Of 3524 women who returned the psychological test sheets before receiving their genetic test result, 111 women were found to carry a BRCA1 mutation. We found that overall, anxiety does not increase in women who receive a positive BRCA1 genetic test result; however, women who experience high levels of anxiety before genetic testing continue to experience high levels of anxiety up to 1 year posttesting. There were differences in cancer-related distress in affected and unaffected women. BRCA1 carriers with a previous diagnosis of cancer had significantly higher levels of cancer-related distress at 1 month posttest than those without cancer. Our findings suggest that healthcare providers should consider including a brief pretest psychological assessment before initiating genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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