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Acceptance of Referral for Cancer Risk Counseling in Clinical Populations: Variables Predicting Follow-Up at a Cancer Genetics Program

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Annual rept. 15 Jul 1999-14 Jul 2000

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This study was designed to demonstrated the utility of brief quantitative risk assessment in a breast biopsy clinic setting as a method of referral to cancer risk counseling. We are examining factors that influence the decision to undergo cancer risk counseling after the referral is made. Computerized risk assessment was performed on 120 women undergoing breast biopsy. Questionnaires measuring knowledge and attitudes about breast cancer, cancer risk counseling, and genetic testing were completed, and psychological assessments were done. Fifty-three percent had risk levels warranting referral and were followed to assess referral uptake. Although only one woman followed through with a referral appointment, 46 stated that they would definitely consider genetic counseling in the future. Primary reasons cited for declining referral were receipt of sufficient risk information from the brief risk assessment 40 or from their doctors 49, perceived low risk 40, and no family history of breast cancer 31. Objective risk, as calculated by statistical models may not be a sufficient motivation for seeking cancer risk counseling at a genetic-based program. Subjects cited a precipitating event such as a cancer diagnosis as a primary motivating factor, therefore the study has been modified and is continuing in a diagnosed treatment population.

Subject Categories:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Statistics and Probability

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