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Participation in breast cancer risk counseling among women with a family history.

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  • 1Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington 98109-1024, USA.


Recent scientific breakthroughs in the genetics of breast cancer may have had effects on women's perceptions of risk and subsequent worry about breast cancer. Here, we present the rates of interest in counseling among women identified from diverse sources, their levels of cancer worry and perceived risk, and predictors of their agreement to participate in breast cancer risk counseling. Women were identified through breast cancer cases and through media offers. They completed a telephone survey and were ultimately either entered or not entered into a counseling trial. Overall, almost half (46%) of cases who were approached responded to the contact letter asking for information about potentially interested relatives. A total of 588 women responded to the brief media solicitations over a 15-week period. Participants recruited from media contacts reported slightly but significantly higher levels of worry about getting cancer, compared to case-recruited participants. Cancer worry negatively and significantly predicted entry into the counseling project. The results presented here may have implications for recruiting women in the general population with a family history of breast cancer for counseling about their risk for the disease.

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