open access

Vol 11, No 2 (2015)
Review paper
Published online: 2015-05-20
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Psychological functioning of women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations — the literature review

Karolina Żbikowska, Paweł Izdebski, Olga Haus
Onkol. Prak. Klin 2015;11(2):100-111.

open access

Vol 11, No 2 (2015)
REVIEW ARTICLES
Published online: 2015-05-20

Abstract

BRCA1 (breast cancer 1) and BRCA2 (breast cancer 2) gene mutations significantly increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Among women with BRCA1 gene mutation, the lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 64–87%, and the lifetime risk of ovarian cancer is about 15–60%. Women who inherit BRCA2 gene mutation, have a little smaller lifetime risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. In our literature review we analyzed the results of foreign research concerning psychological functioning of women undergoing BRCA genetic testing. Our aim is to check if the result of such genetic test influences the general distress level, cancer-related worry, state anxiety, depression, positive and negative mood. We analyzed the results of 9 research published between 1997 and 2013. The results regarding to the characteristics mentioned above are ambiguous or even contradictory, so we do not have certainty, if the information of carrying a BRCA gene mutation increases the level of anxiety, distress, depression and negative mood, or on the contrary — brings relief, reassurance and motivation to future treatment. Because of the increasing number of women undergoing genetic testing, it is worth learning, how do women respond to positive or negative genetic test result. It is also important to demystify supposedly negative influence of such examination on mental and emotional functioning of women, and create individualized methods of psychological counselling, dedicated to mutation carriers and their families. Such methods would improve their psychological resources and help them cope well with such life-changing information.

Abstract

BRCA1 (breast cancer 1) and BRCA2 (breast cancer 2) gene mutations significantly increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Among women with BRCA1 gene mutation, the lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 64–87%, and the lifetime risk of ovarian cancer is about 15–60%. Women who inherit BRCA2 gene mutation, have a little smaller lifetime risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. In our literature review we analyzed the results of foreign research concerning psychological functioning of women undergoing BRCA genetic testing. Our aim is to check if the result of such genetic test influences the general distress level, cancer-related worry, state anxiety, depression, positive and negative mood. We analyzed the results of 9 research published between 1997 and 2013. The results regarding to the characteristics mentioned above are ambiguous or even contradictory, so we do not have certainty, if the information of carrying a BRCA gene mutation increases the level of anxiety, distress, depression and negative mood, or on the contrary — brings relief, reassurance and motivation to future treatment. Because of the increasing number of women undergoing genetic testing, it is worth learning, how do women respond to positive or negative genetic test result. It is also important to demystify supposedly negative influence of such examination on mental and emotional functioning of women, and create individualized methods of psychological counselling, dedicated to mutation carriers and their families. Such methods would improve their psychological resources and help them cope well with such life-changing information.

Get Citation

Keywords

BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations, psychological functioning, anxiety, distress, depression

About this article
Title

Psychological functioning of women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations — the literature review

Journal

Oncology in Clinical Practice

Issue

Vol 11, No 2 (2015)

Article type

Review paper

Pages

100-111

Published online

2015-05-20

Bibliographic record

Onkol. Prak. Klin 2015;11(2):100-111.

Keywords

BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations
psychological functioning
anxiety
distress
depression

Authors

Karolina Żbikowska
Paweł Izdebski
Olga Haus

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