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Fam Cancer. 2010 Dec;9(4):617-24. doi: 10.1007/s10689-010-9354-5.

Pancreatic cancer risk counselling and screening: impact on perceived risk and psychological functioning.

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York University, Toronto, ON, Canada.


Individuals at increased risk for pancreatic cancer who undergo screening can experience psychological and emotional distress. The objective of this study is to determine whether individuals participating in a pancreatic cancer screening program experience disruptions in risk perception, cancer-related anxiety or emotional distress. A pretestposttest design was used to examine perceived risk and psychological functioning of individuals participating in a pancreatic cancer screening protocol. The screening protocol includes genetic counselling, transcutaneous abdominal ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, and blood collection and eligible participants included individuals with a family history of pancreatic cancer or BRCA2 mutation carriers. At baseline, participants (n = 198) showed low to moderate levels of risk perception, pancreatic cancer-related anxiety, and general distress. Participants with familial pancreatic cancer (FPC) (n = 131) endorsed higher risk perception of pancreatic cancer than the BRCA2 carriers (n = 67) (perceived lifetime risk 42 vs. 15%), but did not differ on cancer worry or general distress prior to the first study appointment. From baseline to 3 months follow-up, no significant time or time by group interactions emerged on risk perception or general distress, but cancer worry decreased over time for the FPC group regardless of the number of affected relatives. Our findings indicate that participation in a pancreatic cancer screening program does not lead to a significant increase in risk perception, cancer worry, or general distress and that participants with high baseline levels of risk perception and distress may benefit from a more comprehensive risk assessment and psychological support.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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