, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 624-629

Validity of self-reported genetic counseling and genetic testing use among breast cancer survivors

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Abstract

Introduction

Despite the value of genetic counseling (GC) and genetic testing (GT) for high-risk breast cancer survivors, little is known about their uptake and validity of self-report data. This study evaluated the accuracy of self-reported genetic counseling and testing rates among breast cancer survivors.

Methods

The current analysis focused on Stage 0-III female breast cancer survivors who were identified from an academic medical center’s cancer registry and responded to a mailed survey (N = 452). Self-reported rates of GC and GT were validated using information from the electronic medical record.

Results

Overall, 30.8 % of survivors reported having seen a genetic counselor in the time period after their breast cancer diagnosis and 33.6 % noted having a genetic test. Concordance and specificity were good for both genetic questions; concordance agreements ranged from 86–88 %, while specificity was 83–86 %. Sensitivity (97–98 %) and negative predictive values (99 %) were excellent, while the positive predictive values for both GC and GT were poor (59–63 %).

Conclusions

Among breast cancer survivors, self-reports of GC and GT were generally accurate, although a subset of respondents overestimated genetic service utilization. Future work should focus on validating GC and GT self-reports in medically underserved populations.

Implications for Cancer Survivors

Genetic counseling and testing are valuable aspects of survivorship care for high-risk breast cancer survivors; accurate understanding of their use is important for survivors, clinicians, and researchers.