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J Genet Couns. 2007 Aug;16(4):457-68. Epub 2007 Jul 6.

Health beliefs and behaviors of women who have received genetic counseling for breast cancer.

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  • 1Centre for Eye Research Australia, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.


There are both genetic and behavioral risk factors for breast cancer, but the interaction between these factors is not clear. Little is known about the impact of receiving genetic risk information for breast cancer on behaviors such as diet and physical activity. Seven focus groups were conducted with 23 women who had recently received genetic counseling for breast cancer, in order to explore health beliefs and behaviors following genetic counseling. Findings revealed that there was much confusion and uncertainty about the associations between health behaviors and breast cancer risk, and participants reported that receiving genetic counseling had little impact on health protective behaviors. Further research is required to understand variation in response to genetic risk information, and to assess the impact of providing additional information regarding lifestyle factors.

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