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Genet Med. 2005 Apr;7(4):230-8.

Attitudes about genetic testing and genetic testing intentions in African American women at increased risk for hereditary breast cancer.

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1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To evaluate attitudes about the benefits, limitations, and risks of genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) mutations and explore testing intentions in African American women at increased risk for hereditary breast cancer.

METHODS:

Attitudes and intentions were evaluated by telephone in African American women (n = 74) at moderate and high risk for having a BRCA1/2 mutation.

RESULTS:

Attitudes about the benefits of genetic testing were endorsed at a higher rate relative to limitations and risks; however, only 30% of respondents indicated that they would definitely have testing. In regression analysis, women most likely to be considering testing were those with fatalistic beliefs about cancer and those who believed they had a BRCA1/2 mutation. Women who had two or more affected relatives were also most likely to be considering testing. Women who had a personal history of cancer and those who believed they were at high risk for developing breast cancer were most likely to report greater limitations and risks. Pros scores were higher among women older than age 50 and those who were unemployed.

CONCLUSION:

Although African American women at moderate and high risk for BRCA1/2 mutations report favorable attitudes about genetic testing, interest in testing may be limited. Women affected with cancer and those who believe they are at a higher risk for developing breast cancer may be most concerned about the negative consequences of testing. Increased attention may need to be given to beliefs about genetic testing and testing motivations during genetic counseling with African American women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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