Medline: 10207640

Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention 8(4 pt 2): 353-360, 1999.

Intention to learn results of genetic testing for hereditary colon cancer.

Vernon SW, Gritz ER, Peterson SK, et al.

Abstract:

INTRODUCTION: This report investigates the correlates of intention to find out genetic test results in colorectal cancer patients undergoing genetic counseling and testing for hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer. Specifically, we investigated whether intention to learn genetic test results was associated with sociodemographic factors, medical history, psychosocial factors, attitudes, beliefs, and decisional considerations related to genetic testing.

Materials and Methods:
Among 342 colorectal cancer patients who went through an informed consent process and gave blood for genetic testing and who were eligible for a psychosocial questionnaire study, 269 cases completed a baseline interview. Patients were contacted in person during a routine clinic visit or by letter and follow-up telephone call and were interviewed either in person or by telephone.

Results:
In univariate analysis, intention to learn test results was positively associated with income, quality of life, a belief that being tested will help family members prevent cancer, being worried about carrying an altered gene, and a belief that one has the ability to cope with test results. It was negatively associated with a belief that genetic counseling is too much trouble relative to the benefits. Intention also was positively associated with scales measuring the pros of learning test results and the pros of informing relatives about test results; it was negatively associated with the cons of learning test results. In multivariable analysis, the belief that testing would help family members prevent cancer, being worried about carrying an altered gene, and the pros of learning test results remained statistically associated with intention when other variables were included in the model.

Conclusions:
Our findings showed that the positive aspects of genetic testing were more strongly associated with intention than were the negative aspects. They also showed that persons who stated an intention to learn their genetic test results were more likely than persons who did not to affirm both the benefits and the importance of such testing. These results are consistent with the literature on psychosocial aspects of genetic testing for breast cancer.


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