Patients' Resistance to Risk Information in Genetic Counseling for BRCA1/2

This study examines how patient risk perception is affected by communication with a health care provider. Researchers examined patients' risk perception about their breast cancer and BRAC1/2 mutation risks before and after a genetic counseling session. The study was conducted at the University of Pennsylvania Breast and Ovarian Cancer Risk Evaluation Program (CREP) between 2002 and 2004. One hundred and eight women completed a precounseling questionnaire and were interviewed by phone during the week following their counseling session.

Key Findings:

  • The average risk perception regarding breast cancer was 61 percent precounseling and 44 percent postcounseling. The average risk perception of mutation was 56 percent precounseling and 43 postcounseling.
  • Risk perceptions remained significantly higher than the actual risk information communicated during the counseling session.
  • Accuracy of breast cancer risk perception was associated with precounseling worry.