Psychological opportunities and hazards in predictive genetic testing for cancer risk

A. M. Codori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Although the availability of genetic tests seems like an unequivocally favorable turn of events, they are, in fact, not without controversy. At the center of the controversy is a question regarding the risks and benefits of genetic testing. Many geneticists, ethicists, psychologists, and persons at risk for cancer are concerned about the potentially adverse psychological effects of genetic testing on tested persons and their families. In addition, the screening and interventions that are useful in the general population remain to be shown effective in those with high genetic cancer risk. Consequently, there have been calls for caution in moving genetic testing out of research laboratories and into commercial laboratories until their impact and the effectiveness of cancer prevention strategies can be studied. This article examines the arguments and data for and against this caution, citing examples related to hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer and drawing upon literature on testing for other genetic diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-39
Number of pages21
JournalGastroenterology Clinics of North America
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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