Incorporating a psychological counselor in a cancer risk assessment program: Necessity, acceptability, and potential roles

Alicia K. Matthews, Dana L. Brandenburg, Shelly Cummings, Olufunmilayo I. Olopade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Evidence suggests that cancer risk assessment may be associated with increased psychological distress. This exploratory study assessed the necessity and acceptability of incorporating psychological counseling into routine clinic procedures at a cancer risk program. Following a visit to a university-based cancer risk clinic, patients (N = 102) completed an anonymous self-report instrument. Participants reported experiencing current stress and anxiety (41%), depression (29%), and suicidal ideation (2%). Patients with a history of cancer were more likely to be experiencing current emotional difficulties. Sixty-nine percent of the participants found the visit with the psychological counselor to be helpful, while 41% of the participants reported interest in follow-up psychological services. Interest in receiving future psychological services was positively correlated with levels of anxiety, depression, and cancer worry. This pilot study demonstrates the acceptability and potential role for psychological counselors in increasing adjustment in high-risk patients undergoing genetic counseling for inherited cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-64
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Genetic Counseling
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002

Keywords

  • Cancer risk counseling
  • Genetic counseling
  • Mental health counseling

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