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Am J Med Genet. 1997 Jan 10;68(1):43-9.

Genetic testing for breast cancer susceptibility: awareness and interest among women in the general population.

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1
Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA.

Abstract

Previous research has suggested that demand for genetic testing for breast cancer susceptibility may be quite high, even among those at relatively low risk of carrying a mutation. This study examined the extent to which a group of female HMO enrollees were aware of the discovery of the BRCA1 gene and, without having received detailed information about the test, whether they would be interested in being tested to find out if they have the gene. Factors associated with awareness of and interest in testing were also examined. Four hundred seventy-three women age 50 and over, almost all of whom did not have an increased risk of breast cancer based on family history, were surveyed by telephone. Fifty-one percent of respondents had heard about the discovery of a breast cancer gene. In logistic regression analysis, women who described themselves as comfortable financially, had at least some college education, and were premenopausal were more likely to have heard of the gene discovery than women who were not comfortable financially, had no more than a high school education, and were postmenopausal. Sixty-nine percent of the respondents said that they would be interested in being tested to find out if they had a breast cancer gene. Women who were younger than 60, white, believed their family would benefit if they had a mammogram, and believed that regular mammograms give them a feeling of control over their health, were more likely to be interested in testing than those who were 60 or older, African-American or other, and did not believe that their family would benefit if they had a mammogram or that mammograms give them a feeling of control over their health. These findings have implications for education and counseling. Women who express an interest in being tested must be made fully aware of the limitations and possible consequences of testing. Special efforts may be needed to make information about testing available to women who have low levels of education.

PMID:
8986274
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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