Interest and Beliefs About BRCA Genetic Counseling Among At-Risk Latinas in New York City

Abstract

Background: Latinas are less likely to use genetic services (counseling and testing) for hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancer risk compared to other ethnic groups. Meanwhile, little is known about barriers to genetic counseling among Latinas at increased risk of inherited breast cancer. Methods: A two-phase pilot study was conducted to examine interest, barriers and beliefs about BRCA genetic counseling among at-risk Latinas in New York City and explore the potential for developing a culturally-tailored narrative educational tool for use in future studies. Phase 1 included quantitative telephone interviews (N = 15) with bilingual participants with a personal diagnosis at a young age and/or family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer. Quantitative results informed development of a narrative prototype educational presentation viewed by a subset of participants (N = 10) in Phase 2 focus groups. Results: Despite barriers, including lack of awareness/knowledge, concerns related to learning cancer risks of family members, and concerns about cost/health insurance, participants reported positive attitudes, beliefs and interest in learning about BRCA genetic counseling. Further, significant increases in knowledge were demonstrated from pre-post presentation (p = 0.04). Conclusion: There is an unmet need to educate at-risk Latinas about BRCA genetic counseling. Culturally-tailored educational materials including narratives may increase knowledge about BRCA genetic counseling among this underserved group. The effectiveness of these approaches should be tested in future research with larger samples.

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Acknowledgements

Dr. Sussner’s work described here was supported through the National Cancer Institute Training Grant (R25 CA81137).

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Correspondence to Katarina M. Sussner.

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Sussner, K.M., Jandorf, L., Thompson, H.S. et al. Interest and Beliefs About BRCA Genetic Counseling Among At-Risk Latinas in New York City. J Genet Counsel 19, 255–268 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10897-010-9282-4

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Keywords

  • Genetic counseling
  • BRCA
  • Breast cancer risk
  • Latinas/Hispanic women
  • Cancer genetic services
  • Access to genetic services
  • Beliefs
  • Cross-cultural education
  • Knowledge