Cancer-related worry and risk perception in Brazilian individuals seeking genetic counseling for hereditary breast cancer

Edenir Inêz Palmero Natalia Campacci Lavinia Schüler-Faccini Roberto Giugliani José Claudio Casali da Rocha Fernando Regla Vargas Patricia Ashton-Prolla About the authors

Abstract

In Brazil, the population in general has little knowledge about genetic risks, as well as regarding the role and importance of the Cancer Genetic Counseling (CGC). The goal of this study was to evaluate cancer-related worry and cancer risk perception during CGC sessions in Brazilian women at-risk for hereditary breast cancer. This study was performed in 264 individuals seeking CGC for hereditary breast cancer. Both cancer-affected and unaffected individuals were included. As results, individuals with and without cancer reported different motivations for seeking CGC and undergoing genetic testing. A correlation was observed between age at the first CGC session and age at which the closest relative was diagnosed with cancer. Multivariate analysis showed that educational level, cancer risk discussion within the family, and number of deaths by cancer among first-degree relatives influenced positively the cancer risk perception. In conclusion, the results of this study indicate that cancer-related worry and cancer risk perception are significant aspects of morbidity in individuals seeking CGC, whether they are cancer-affected or unaffected. CGC has an important role in health education and cancer prevention for its potential of promoting an accurate perception of the risk.

Keywords
Hereditary breast cancer; hereditary cancer; cancer-related worry; cancer risk perception; genetic counselling

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