Genetic counseling of patients with ovarian carcinoma: acceptance, timing, and psychological wellbeing

I. van de Beek, E. M. A. Smets, M. A. Legdeur, J. A. de Hullu, C. A. R. Lok, M. R. Buist, M. J. E. Mourits, C. M. Kets, L. E. van der Kolk, J. C. Oosterwijk, C. M. Aalfs

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The new Dutch guidelines on hereditary and familial ovarian carcinoma recommend genetic testing of all patients with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). With this study, we aimed to obtain insight into (1) the acceptance and timing of the offer of genetic counseling in women with EOC, (2) reasons for accepting or declining genetic counseling, and (3) psychological differences between women who did and did not have genetic counseling. A multicenter questionnaire survey was performed in patients with EOC in four Dutch oncology centers. The questionnaire addressed whether, how, and when genetic counseling was offered, women’s arguments to accept or decline genetic counseling, and included the Cancer Worry Scale (CWS) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). A total of 67 women completed the questionnaire, of which 43 had genetic counseling. Despite a wide variability in the timing of the offer of genetic counseling, 89% of the women were satisfied with the timing. No significant differences were found between the CWS and HADS scores for the timing of the offer of genetic counseling and whether or not women had genetic counseling. Taking the small sample size into account, the results tentatively suggest that genetic counseling may have limited impact on the psychosocial wellbeing of women with EOC. Therefore, we assume that implementation of the new guidelines offering genetic counseling to all patients with EOC will not cause considerable additional burden to these patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-191
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Community Genetics
Issue number2
Early online date5 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • Genetic counseling
  • Genetic testing
  • Ovarian carcinoma
  • Psychological wellbeing

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