Oncological genetic counseling (OGC) for high-risk hereditary cancer: what can hospital anxiety and depression scale (HADs) tell us?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: This study aimed to verify whether and how anxiety and depression symptoms are associated both to socio-demographic and clinical variables (age, civil status, type of cancer diagnosed, time elapsed between cancer diagnosis and Oncologic Genetic Counseling/OGC, number of relatives affected by cancer) and to psychological features (presence/absence of previous psychological suffering), subjective cancer risk perception, psychological attitude approaching/OGC) in a sample of Caucasian patients accessing OGC.

METHODS: 201 participants (193 female and 8 male) accessing OGC in the Istituto di Ricovero e Cura Carattere Scientifico (IRCCS) Giovanni Paolo II in Bari completed the Hospital Depression and Anxiety Scale (HADs) that was analyzed as global scoring, anxiety (HAD-A) and depression subscale (HAD-D).

RESULTS: In our sample, higher HADs, HAD-A and HAD-D scorings were associated in different ways to both socio-demographic information (age: p value 0.019), clinical and medical features (personal history of cancer: HAD-D p value 0.02; months elapsed between diagnosis and OGC, HAD-A p value 0.004 and HADs p value 0.008) and psychological dimensions (approaching genetic counseling: anxiety p value 0.06; fear p value 0.02; duty p value 0.04).

CONCLUSION: This study showed that during the process of oncological genetic counseling the importance of taking into consideration not only medical variables but also cognitive and emotional aspects from both the individual and family spheres, in order to assure adequate care of the patient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-573
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of B.U.ON.
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety/psychology
  • Depression/psychology
  • Female
  • Genetic Counseling/methods
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease/genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms/genetics


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