Issues associated with a hereditary risk of cancer: Knowledge, attitudes and practices of nurses in oncology settings

Johanne Hébert, Anne-Sophie Bergeron, Anne-Marie Veillette, Karine Bouchard, Hermann Nabi, Michel Dorval


Documenting a patient’s family history of cancer is useful in assessing their predisposition to some types of hereditary cancers. A group of nurses working with cancer patients were surveyed, by way of a questionnaire, to determine their level of knowledge about oncogenetics, describe various issues related to their capacity to identify, refer and support individuals with a hereditary risk of cancer, and explore their interest in continuing education on this topic. The findings show limited knowledge and a low sense of competence among the participating nurses, as well as a lack of access to university and continuing education programs in this field. Training focused on competency development would enhance their capacity to carry out an initial assessment of individuals who are potentially at risk for cancer and refer them to specialized resources.

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