Date of Graduation

5-2016

Document Type

Thesis (MS)

Program Affiliation

Genetic Counseling

Degree Name

Masters of Science (MS)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Louise Strong, MD

Committee Member

Sarah Jane Noblin, MS, CGC

Committee Member

Susan K. Peterson, Ph.D., MPH

Committee Member

Jasmina Bojadzieva, MS

Committee Member

Ralf Krahe, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Martha Askins, Ph.D.

Abstract

Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS) is a hereditary cancer syndrome that leads to an increased risk of multiple cancers. In the past five years new screening protocols have been developed that provide improved screening options for individuals with LFS. However, very little has been published on the psychosocial impact of these screening protocols. The goals of this study were to determine how participation in screening impacts individuals psychosocially, to examine the benefits and drawbacks of screening, and to evaluate possible barriers to continued screening. This qualitative study consisted of phone interviews with 20 individuals that took part in an LFS screening program at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Data analysis showed that benefits of screening include early detection, peace of mind, centralized screening, knowledge providing power, and screening making LFS seem more livable. Perceived drawbacks included logistical issues, difficulty navigating the system, screening being draining, and significant negative emotional reactions such as anxiety, fear, and skepticism. Regardless of the emotions that were present, 100% of participants plan on continuing screening in the program. Our data indicates that the perceived benefits of screening outweigh the drawbacks of screening. Individuals in this screening program appear to have improved psychosocial well-being because of their access to the screening program.

Keywords

Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, psychosocial effects, LEAD Program, comprehensive Li-Fraumeni Syndrome screening, cancer screening, psychosocial

Available for download on Wednesday, April 26, 2017

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