, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 639-649
Date: 20 Jul 2011

Using a Family History Intervention to Improve Cancer Risk Perception in a Black Community

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Abstract

Few studies examine the use of family history to influence risk perceptions in the African American population. This study examined the influence of a family health history (FHH) intervention on risk perceptions for breast (BRCA), colon (CRC), and prostate cancers (PRCA) among African Americans in Pittsburgh, PA. Participants (n = 665) completed pre- and post-surveys and FHHs. We compared their objective and perceived risks, classified as average, moderate, or high, and examined the accuracy of risk perceptions before and after the FHH intervention. The majority of participants had accurate risk perceptions post-FHH. Of those participants who were inaccurate pre-FHH, 43.3%, 43.8%, and 34.5% for BRCA, CRC, and PRCA, respectively, adopted accurate risk perceptions post-FHH intervention. The intervention was successful in a community setting. It has the potential to lead to healthy behavior modifications because participants adopted accurate risk perceptions. We identified a substantial number of at-risk individuals who could benefit from targeted prevention strategies, thus decreasing racial/ethnic cancer disparities.