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Genet Med. 2002 Sep-Oct;4(5):359-65.

Effects of risk counseling on interest in breast cancer genetic testing for lower risk women.

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



A randomized trial was conducted to test the effects of two counseling methods (genetic counseling and group counseling) against a control no-intervention condition on interest in genetic testing in lower risk women.


After completing baseline surveys, women (N = 357) were randomized to one of three conditions: to receive individual genetic risk counseling, to receive a group psychosocial group counseling, or to serve as a control group. Participants completed follow-up questionnaires 6 months after randomization.


All participants had some familial history of breast cancer, but none had a family history indicative of autosomal dominant genetic mutation. At baseline over three fourths of the sample judged themselves to be appropriate candidates for testing. By the end of the survey, two thirds (70%) of the women in the counseling group still judged themselves to be appropriate candidates for testing. Findings were similar for interest in genetic testing. Changes in beliefs about genetic testing (e.g., beliefs about potential stigma associated with testing) altered the effects of counseling.


These results indicate that counseling can change interest in genetic testing only slightly and that changing women's beliefs about the properties of testing might be one mechanism of doing so.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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