Genetic Testing for Cancer: Psychological Approaches for Helping Patients and Families
In the coming decades, as more genes are found which convey predisposition to serious diseases, genetics will play an increasingly important role in the lives of patients seeking psychotherapeutic and family therapy services. To help patients with concerns about inherited predisposition to cancer and genetic testing, mental health professionals need to understand the psychological issues patients and families experience when they confront the prospect of learning what fate has dealt them through their genes.
Genetic Testing for Cancer offers a thorough base of information about genetics, explanations of what is and is not known about cancer genetics, and descriptions of the genetic counseling process. But most importantly, this volume extensively reviews the psychological problems and dilemmas that patients concerned about hereditary cancer experience. The author skillfully and insightfully delves into personal and emotional concerns, the impact of receiving genetic test results, family and child-related matters, the challenge of making momentous decisions about prophylactic surgery, as well as complex social and ethical issues.
Because psychologists and other mental health providers are trained in understanding and optimizing complex family interactions, they are in a prime position to help individuals cope with health-related threats and with the reality of inherited illness. They are, thus, poised to improve the quality of life of patients with issues related to the impact of hereditary cancer predisposition.