Psychological Distress, Cognitive Bias and Breast Cancer Surveillance Behavior in Women Tested for BRCA 1/2 Mutation
Annual summary rept. 1 Jul 1999-1 Jul 2000
MOUNT SINAI SCHOOL OF MEDICINE NEW YORK
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This research project is aimed at examining psychological distress and processing of information associated with risk for breast cancer. Understanding the types and magnitude of womens distress and impaired processing of cancer-related information is critical because cancer-related distress has been associated with poorer compliance with screening behaviors, and impaired processing of cancer information may decrease womens knowledge and understanding of and hence, compliance with recommended screening guidelines. These concerns may be particularly salient among women who attend genetic counseling, as they receive complex, and oftentimes distressing information about their risk for the disease. To date, our findings indicate that women with family histories reported higher levels of cancer specific intrusive thoughts and avoidance, higher levels of initial vigilance to cancer stimuli, and interestingly, poorer memory for those stimuli, than did women without family histories of the disease. We found a similar pattern of findings when examining objective risk for breast cancer Gail Model. Findings are important in that they raise the possibility that there may real-world deficits in the processing of information related to cancer among women who receiving information critical to their health care at an acutely distressing time i.e., physicians or genetic counselors office.
- Medicine and Medical Research