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J Genet Couns. 2013 Oct;22(5):603-12. doi: 10.1007/s10897-013-9592-4. Epub 2013 May 12.

Family communication of BRCA1/2 results and family uptake of BRCA1/2 testing in a diverse population of BRCA1/2 carriers.

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  • 1Cancer Risk Program, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.


Previous studies examining communication of BRCA1/2 results with relatives and family uptake of BRCA1/2 testing have sampled from predominantly white, high SES cohorts ascertained solely from tertiary care centers. No studies have focused on family communication and testing among relatives of diverse BRCA1/2 carriers. We conducted structured interviews with 73 BRCA1/2 carriers identified at a public hospital and a tertiary cancer center. We asked participants if each first- and second-degree relative was aware of their BRCA1/2 results and whether or not each relative had tested. Generalized estimating equations identified rates and predictors of family communication and testing. Participants disclosed their test results to 73 % of 606 eligible relatives and 31 % of 514 eligible relatives tested. Communication and testing rates were similar for relatives of participants from the public hospital and the tertiary cancer center. Hospital site was not a significant predictor of either result disclosure or relative uptake of testing. African American and Asian/Pacific Islander participants were significantly less likely to disclose their results to their relatives; relatives of African American participants were significantly less likely to test. Addressing these disparities will require further research into the best ways to facilitate family communication and counsel at-risk relatives of racially and socioeconomically diverse BRCA1/2 mutation carriers.

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