OBJECTIVES: Women seeking counseling because of familial breast cancer occurrence face difficult decisions, such as whether and when to opt for risk-reducing mastectomy (RRM) in case of BRCA1/2 mutation. Only limited research has been done to identify the psychological factors associated with the decision for RRM. This study investigated which psychological factors are related to the intention to choose for RRM.
MATERIALS & METHODS: A cohort of 486 cancer-unaffected women with a family history of breast cancer completed the following questionnaires prior to genetic counseling: the Cancer Worry Scale, Positive And Negative Affect Scale, Perceived Personal Control Scale, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and State Anxiety Scale and questions regarding socio-demographic characteristics, family history, risk perception and RRM intention. Multivariate logistic regression was used to analyze the relation between psychological factors and women's intention to choose for RRM.
RESULTS: Factors associated with RRM intention were high positive affect (OR = 1.86, 95%CI = 1.12-3.08), high negative affect (OR = 2.52, 95%CI = 1.44-4.43), high cancer worry (OR = 1.65, 95%CI = 1.00-2.72), high perceived personal control (OR = 3.58, 95%CI = 2.18-5.89), high risk-perception (OR = 1.85, 95%CI = 1.15-2.95) and having children (OR = 2.06, 95%CI = 1.21-3.50).
CONCLUSION: Negative and positive affects play an important role in the intention for RRM. Furthermore, perceived personal control over the situation is associated with an intention for RRM. In addition to focusing on accurate risk communication, counseling should pay attention to the influence of perceived control and emotions to facilitate decision-making.