, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 373-382
Date: 23 Feb 2007

Cancer Family History Reporting: Impact of Method and Psychosocial Factors

Abstract

Family history is one the greatest risk factors for disease and one of the most important informational tools in medical genetics for the purpose of diagnosis, risk assessment, prevention and treatment. However, research is needed on the comparability of different methods of cancer family history assessment and the influence of psychosocial factors in family history reports. The purpose of this study was to determine if individuals had discrepancies between written and interview reports of cancer family history and the role of psychosocial factors in these discrepancies. Oncology patients (n=104) were administered a survey to assess psychosocial factors (i.e., information-seeking, worry, perceived risk, and health literacy) and were asked to provide family history in a written and an interview form. Randomization determined which form individuals received first. No differences in the amount of missing data or the amount of unspecified data were noted between the written and interview method. Psychosocial factors did not differentiate between those who had discrepancies in family history reports and those who did not have discrepancies in family history reports; although there was a trend for those with lower literacy and those who were blunters to be more discrepant on type of cancer diagnosis. In sum, this preliminary study indicates that written and interview methods of family history assessment for first degree relatives may be used interchangeably. The ability to use written methods will facilitate collection of basic family history information in the oncology clinic.