European Journal of Human Genetics vol:8 issue:2 pages:130-136
Since the identification of two breast-ovarian cancer susceptibility genes (BRCA1/2), predictive testing for hereditary breast/ovarian cancer (HBOC) has been available. Given the complexity and uncertainties of HBOC and the potential impact of predictive testing on psychological well-being, we offer the test applicants a combination of information-oriented and psychological counselling. In this paper, we describe the multidisciplinary approach for predictive testing for HBOC as a clinical service in Leuven, hereby focusing on psychological and decision counselling practice. Attention is paid to the theoretical framework used for pre-test psychological counselling in Leuven. We discuss three important interacting dimensions of psychological counselling: individual emotional support, decision counselling and support of the family communication process. Decision counselling consists of an evaluation of the cognitive and the emotional processing of the information given and strategies and resources for coping. This serves as a starting point to facilitate free informed decision making. Scenario development is used as a decision aid.