Background and Context:
Genetic Counseling is still in its infancy in India. With only a few cancer genetic clinics in the country,counseling aimed at evaluating a cancer-affected individual for familial cancers is known to help in better clinical management of the disease, psychosocial adjustment and coping skills to the diagnosis of cancer, for both the patient and family members.
To counsel Indian patients and family members who are at risk of hereditary cancers and to address the psychosocial issues surrounding familial cancers.
Five cancer patients and their families, who were identified to be at risk of hereditary cancers, were selected to assess the psychosocial issues faced by them after a diagnosis of cancer. An attempt was made to refer them to the genetic clinics for a work up and genetic counseling.
Out of the five patients counseled only two agreed to contact the genetic clinic for a "work up". An evaluation of reasons raised in the course of psychological counseling reveals underlying family dynamics, psychosocial underpinnings and financial pressures that may prevent families from seeking genetic counseling.
Outcomes/What was learned:
Issues unique to the Indian population could help devise a better understanding of the acceptance or rejection of the new cancer genetics facilities at this early stage in the field.