Psychological Distress, Cognitive Bias and Breast Cancer Surveillance Behavior in Women Tested for BRCA 1/2 Mutation
Annual summary rept. 1 Jul 2002-1 Jul 2002
MOUNT SINAI SCHOOL OF MEDICINE NEW YORK
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This research project examines psychological distress and processing of information associated with breast cancer risk. 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 of breast cancer may be so preoccupied with their risks for developing breast cancer that they exhibit impaired processing of cancer-related information, which may lead to poorer informed choices about their health care. We also found that these women underestimate their risks of developing other more common diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, and this may be exacerbated by biased media coverage of breast cancer. Our research has also demonstrated that distress about breast cancer is related to significantly poorer knowledge of information presented during genetic counseling.
- Medicine and Medical Research