Building Psychological Resilience in the Face of Hereditary Risk


Living with hereditary cancer risk can be extremely stressful for all cancer patients. In this episode, Dr. Karen Hurley shares insights on managing and coping with anxieties surrounding risk and uncertainty.

Karen Hurley, PhD, joined the Cleveland Clinic in 2016, bringing with her almost 20 years of experience as a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in hereditary cancer risk and psycho-oncology. She received her undergraduate degree from Bryn Mawr College in 1983 and completed her PhD in clinical psychology at Temple University in 1998. After finishing a postdoctoral fellowship in cancer prevention and control at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, she spent eight years on faculty at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, conducting research funded by the National Cancer Institute. She has provided psychotherapy and consultation to hundreds of individuals, couples, and families across the spectrum of cancer from risk to survivorship, and frequently gives lectures to patient and professional audiences, nationally and internationally.  She is a member of several national advisory boards, including FORCE, Bright Pink, Sharsheret, and the Cancer Support Community.  In 2014 she received a Spirit of Empowerment-Individual Commitment award at the 8th Annual FORCE conference, in recognition of her work on behalf of the hereditary cancer community.  

Additional Resources

A second helping of stress: Coping with hereditary cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic & Dealing with an Extra Helping of Stress

Talking to Patients about Genetic Testing and Psychosocial Implications of that Discussion

Sharing Risk Information with Children


Beyond the Clinic: Living Well With Melanoma is a twelve-series podcast hosted by Raymond LiuMD, Director of Cancer Survivorship for Kaiser Permanente San Francisco. For more information on our program, Beyond the Clinic: Living Well with Melanoma, and to find out about upcoming topics and guests, click here.