Ten studies were included in the review (n=1,220 patients). The sample size ranged from 36 to 269 patients. The study quality was not reported.
Psychological reactions before genetic counselling: Three studies reported that patients with colorectal cancer tended to have positive attitude towards genetic testing. The concern about the risk of colorectal cancer in their close relatives was the most common motivation to take genetic testing; this motivation was strongly present in younger patients.
Psychological reactions before and after genetic counselling: Four studies showed that, although a small proportion of patients developed clinically relevant levels of anxiety and depression, most psychological distress scores remained within the normal range before the result of genetic testing was disclosed. The vulnerable patients were females and males diagnosed before the age of 50 years.
Psychological reactions after disclosure of the genetic test result: Two studies showed that disclosure of the genetic test result did not lead to any relevant psychological distress in most patients. The vulnerable patients were those with pre-test distress, a history of depression and high familial mortality from colorectal cancer.