Successful Use of Peer Educators for Sharing Genetic Information
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This study examined the impact of a genetics education module provided by Reach to Recovery peer volunteers. Participants included 113 women with confirmed breast cancer diagnoses. Eighty-eight of these women (78%) completed a baseline survey, participated in a peer-led intervention, and completed a follow-up survey. Approximately half of the women received an education module that included a genetic component, while the other half did not. Results indicated that women who received the genetics module had greater increases in genetics knowledge than the group that did not receive the module. However, follow-up interest in genetic testing was not significantly different between the two groups. Results indicate that a peer-led genetics module can increase knowledge about genetics. However, it does not appear to have a differential effect on genetic testing interest.
KEY WORDS:breast cancer peer education genetics genetics knowledge
We thank Dr. Robert Croyle and Dr. Ken R. Smith for their guidance in designing the study and reviewing the data. Thanks also go to Barbara Alexander from the American Cancer Society, Dr. Saundra Buys, and Lisa Wadge from Huntsman Cancer Institute for helping develop the modules. Jackie McCowan did a fabulous job with the illustrations – her pictures were worth a thousand words. A huge thank you to the seven Reach to Recovery volunteers who conducted the interventions and the many other women who participated in this study. This study was supported by a National Cancer Institute RO3 grant to Vickie L. Venne (CA70610).
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