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Health Forum Online    The Psychologist's Source for C.E. Credits Online

The Psychosocial Needs of Women Undergoing Genetic Counseling and Testing in the Breast Cancer Context

by Susan T. Vadaparampil, PhD & Gwendolyn P. Quinn, PhD 2 CE Credits

Recent advances in molecular genetics have led to predictive genetic tests that can identify individuals at risk for certain hereditary cancers, such as the genetic mutations that have been identified for breast cancer (BRCA1/2, PALB2). BRCA1/2 mutation testing is one the most established and widely used of these predictive genetic tests. As the use of these tests moves into mainstream clinical practice, allied health professionals will have need to understand the clinical aspects of genetic counseling as well as the psychosocial needs of women considering and or under-going counseling and testing. This course provides an overview of the genetic counseling process, types of test results, risk management strategies, and psychosocial needs of women during the genetic counseling and testing process.

Continuing education for this online course is offered through the following approvals:


  • HealthForum is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. HealthForum maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • HealthForum (ACE Provider #1156) is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. HealthForum maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: (6/20/2017 to 6/20/2020). Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this course will receive 2 Clinical continuing education clock hours.
  • HealthForum has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6216.  Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. HealthForum is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

Course Sections/Outline:

  • Introduction
  • Key Elements of the BRCA1/2 Genetic Counseling and Testing Process
  • Test Results: Interpretations and Implications
  • Assessing the Psychosocial Needs of a Patient Considering Genetic Counseling and Testing for BRCA1/2
  • Assessment of Distress in Clinical Settings
  • Medical Risk Management Strategies for BRCA1/2 Mutation Carriers
  • The Psychosocial Impact of Medical Risk Management
  • Conclusion
  • Web-Based Resources
  • References


Learning Objectives:

After completing this course, health professionals will be able to:
  • Identify known genetic mutations linked to risk for breast cancer (BRCA1/2) and emerging genetic risk factors (i.e., PALB2).
  • Describe four key elements of a pretest genetic counseling session, including distinguishing the difference between the four possible test outcomes: true positive, true negative, indeterminate and inconclusive results in genetic testing for BRCA1/2.
  • Apply two strategies for assessing the psychosocial needs of a patient considering genetic counseling and testing for BRCA1/2.
  • Discuss three risk management strategies for use among unaffected mutation carriers for BRCA1/2.