February 1st 1996
Drs. Lerman and Croyle provide a quite thorough review of an area in need of continuing research-ie, patients' behavioral and emotional responses to genetic testing for cancer susceptibility. The authors present current information on what we do and don't know about the psychological characteristics of individuals likely to undergo testing, possible adverse reactions, issues specific to the genetic counseling process, family coping and adaptation, and possible ways of managing psychological sequelae of genetic testing. Admirably, the authors note that much of their discussion should be considered speculative until more empirical data specific to genetic testing is available. Given this "state of the science," I will raise some additional questions based on some of the statements made by Drs. Lerman and Croyle.