Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 25–40 | Cite as

Factors Influencing Patients' Decisions to Decline Cancer Genetic Counseling Services

  • Katherine P. Geer
  • Mary E. Ropka
  • Wendy F. Cohn
  • Susan M. Jones
  • Susan Miesfeldt


Little is known about the factors influencing patients' decisions about whether to utilize cancer genetic counseling services. The purpose of this study is to identify potential barriers to broad utilization of such services. Of a total of 136 decliners of cancer genetic counseling services at our institution, 117 were deemed eligible to participate. Of these, 73 were randomly selected for study. A total of 37/73 (51%) agreed to participate in a semistructured telephone survey designed to assess the factors that impacted their decisions to decline cancer genetic counseling. An interview script, composed of both closed- and open-ended questions, was used to direct the survey. Interviews were audiotaped. Responses to open-ended questions were content analyzed. Of the participants, 34 were female and 36 were Caucasian. Seventy-two percent of the participants were between ages 36 and 55 years. Participants cited the following reasons for choosing not to proceed with cancer genetic counseling: concern over health insurability for self or family (n = 15); cost (n = 12); emotional impact on self or family (n = 11); no perceived benefit (n = 11); and time commitment (n = 9). These data provide an understanding of patient's attitudes and concerns impacting their decisions to decline cancer genetic counseling. This information provides guidance for the development of interventions designed to limit barriers among patients referred for such services.

attitudes cancer risk counseling genetic counseling genetic services hereditary cancer 


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Copyright information

© National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine P. Geer
    • 1
  • Mary E. Ropka
    • 2
  • Wendy F. Cohn
    • 2
  • Susan M. Jones
    • 1
  • Susan Miesfeldt
    • 1
  1. 1.Cancer CenterUniversity of Virginia Health SystemCharlottesville
  2. 2.Department of Health Evaluation SciencesUniversity of Virginia Health SystemCharlottesville

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