Journal of Community Genetics

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 233–247

Breast cancer genetic counselling referrals: how comparable are the findings between the UK and the Netherlands?


    • NIVEL (Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research)
  • Julie Werrett
    • School of Health & Population Science, College of Medicine & DentistryUniversity of Birmingham
  • Sandra Van Dulmen
    • NIVEL (Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research)
  • Jozien M. Bensing
    • NIVEL (Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research)
    • Department of Health PsychologyUtrecht University
  • Cyril Chapman
    • West Midlands Regional Genetics UnitBirmingham Women Hospital NHS Trust
  • Margreet G. E. M. Ausems
    • Department of Medical GeneticsUniversity Medical Center Utrecht
  • Alison Metcalfe
    • School of Health & Population Science, College of Medicine & DentistryUniversity of Birmingham
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12687-011-0061-1

Cite this article as:
Albada, A., Werrett, J., Van Dulmen, S. et al. J Community Genet (2011) 2: 233. doi:10.1007/s12687-011-0061-1


Counselees from different countries may differ in demographic and medical characteristics and this could affect their pre-counselling cognitions and psychosocial variables. Research outcomes may therefore not be easily transferable between countries. To examine this, a cross-national comparison of UK (West Midlands: WM) and Dutch (Middle Netherlands: MN) counselees in breast cancer genetic counselling was conducted. Two hundred thirty-eight WM and 156 MN proband counselees were compared on demographics, breast cancer history and referral pathways. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to check whether national differences in knowledge of breast cancer and heredity, risk perception, worry and information needs persisted when corrected for the background characteristics. About half of the Dutch compared to 8% of UK counselees were affected by breast cancer. More UK than Dutch counselees were at high risk from hereditary breast cancer. UK counselees had higher risk perceptions and more knowledge about breast cancer prevalence, but these differences lost significance when corrected for counselees' risk levels and other background characteristics. Counselees from the UK might report higher levels of worry than Dutch counselees and this could not be explained by their background characteristics. Comparisons of findings between the UK and the Netherlands show that the UK seems to have a higher percentage of high-risk referrals and these counselees seem to have higher risk perceptions. Irrespective of their actual risk level, UK counselees might be more worried. Comparing findings between the different countries raises questions about how transferable research findings are from one culture to another.


Breast cancerGenetic counsellingBrca1/2ReferralsGPInternational comparison

Supplementary material

12687_2011_61_MOESM1_ESM.doc (24 kb)
Table IBreast cancer risk, breast cancer status and age of participants versus decliners (DOC 23.5 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011