The aim of this paper was to investigate whether cancer genetic counseling could be considered as a stressful event and associated with more anxiety and/or depression compared to other cancer-related events for instance attending mammography screening or receiving a cancer diagnosis.
A total of 4911 individuals from three Scandinavian countries were included in the study. Data was collected from individuals who had attended either cancer genetic counseling (self-referred and physician-referred) or routine mammography screening, were recalled for a second mammograpy due to a suspicious mammogram, had received a cancer diagnosis or had received medical follow-up after a breast cancer-surgery. Data from the genetic counseling group was also compared to normative data. Participants filled in the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale twice: prior to a potentially stressful event and 14 days after the event.
Pre-counseling cancer genetic counselees reported significant lower level of anxiety compared to the cancer-related group, but higher levels of anxiety compared to the general population. Furthermore, the level of depression observed within the genetic counseling group was lower compared to other participants. Post-event there was no significant difference in anxiety levels between the cancer genetic counselees and all other groups; however, the level of depression reported in the self-referred group was significantly lower than observed in all other groups. Notably, the level of anxiety and depression had decreased significantly from pre-to post-events within the genetic counseling group. In the cancer-related group only the level of anxiety had decreased significantly post-event.
Individuals who attend cancer genetic counseling do not suffer more anxiety or depression compared to all other cancer-related groups. However, some counselees might need additional sessions and extended support. Thus, identifying extremely worried individuals who need more support, and allocating further resources to their care, seems to be more sufficient.
Cites: Ann Behav Med. 1997 Fall;19(4):370-79706364
To evaluate the mode of delivery of a stress management intervention, in a group or individual setting, on self-reported cancer-related traumatic stress symptoms. A secondary aim was to evaluate a stepped care approach.
All study participants (n?=?425), who were female, newly diagnosed with breast cancer and receiving standard oncological care were offered Step I of the stepped care approach, a stress management education (SME). Thereafter, they were screened for cancer-related traumatic stress symptoms, and, if present (n?=?304), were invited to join Step II, a more intense intervention, derived from cognitive behavioral therapy, to which they were randomized to either a group (n?=?77) or individual (n?=?78) setting. To assess cancer-related traumatic stress symptoms, participants completed the Impact of Event Scale and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale at the time of inclusion, three-months post-inclusion and approximately 12-months post-inclusion.
The SME did not significantly decrease any of the cancer-related traumatic stress symptoms. No statistically significant differences were found between the group and the individual setting interventions. However, only 54% of the participants attended the group setting compared to 91% for the individual setting.
The mode of delivery had no effect on the cancer-related traumatic stress symptoms; however, the individual setting was preferred. In future studies, a preference-based RCT design will be recommended for evaluating the different treatment effects.