Cancer-specific distress is related to women's decisions to undergo BRCA1 testing

Heiddis B. Valdimarsdottir, Dana H. Bovbjerg, Karen Brown, Paul Jacobsen, Marc D. Schwartz, Eveline Bleiker, Kenneth Offit, Patrick Borgen, Alexandra Heerdt, Kimberly Van Zee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Problem. To examine the role of demographic variables, objective risk, perceived risk and cancer-specific distress in women's decisions to undergo genetic testing. Methods. One-hundred and five women with family histories of breast cancer completed a baseline questionnaire after which they were invited to attend a genetic counseling session and provide a blood sample for BRCA1 testing. Results. Fifty-five percent of the participants provided blood samples. After controlling for age, objective risk and perceived risk, which were positively related to provision of blood sample, women with moderate levels of cancer-specific distress were more likely to provide a blood sample than women with high or low levels of cancer-specific distress. Conclusions. Cancer-specific distress affects women's decisions to undergo genetic testing for BRCA1. Genetic counseling needs to address cancer-specific distress, since it may affect the probability that individuals are making an informed decision about undergoing genetic testing for breast-cancer susceptibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-68
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Research Therapy and Control
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • BRCA1
  • Decision-making
  • Distress
  • Genetic testing


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