Before the organisation of breast cancer predictive testing in France, consultands' attitudes towards this kind of testing and towards passing on information about the family cancer risk to their relatives were investigated. This survey was carried out from January 1994 to January 1995 at six specialised cancer genetic clinics located in different parts of France Female consultands who were first degree relatives of cancer patients and who had at least one case of breast cancer in their family, affecting either themselves or a first degree relative or both, participated in this study. Among the 248 eligible consultands attending the clinics during the study period, 84.3% answered a post-consultation questionnaire. Among the 209 respondents, 40.7% (n = 85) were cancer patients and 59.3% (n = 124) were healthy consultands. A high consensus in favour of genetic testing was noted, since 87.7% of the sample stated that they would ask for breast cancer gene testing if this test became available. The underlying assumption of 96.6% of the women was that their health surveillance would be improved after a positive test. A high awareness of the anxiety that would be generated in a family after a positive result was observed and found to be associated (p < 0.05) with the anxiety and depressive profiles of the patients. Half of the healthy respondents said they would not change their attitude towards screening if the results of predictive testing turned out to be negative. Only 13.7% of the 161 patients who stated that the oncogeneticists asked them to contact their relatives firmly refused to do so, mainly because of difficult family relationships.
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