Identifying women appropriate for cancer genetic counseling referral depends on patient-reported family history. Understanding predictors of reporting a high-risk family is critical in ensuring compliance with current referral guidelines. Our objectives were to (1) assess prevalence of candidates for BRCA1 and BRCA2 counseling referral in a primary care setting, (2) explore associations with high-risk status and various patient (e.g., race) and family structure (e.g., number of relatives) characteristics, and (3) determine whether high-risk patients had genetic counseling and/or testing. Survey and pedigree data were collected between 2010 and 2012 for 486 Women's Health Clinic patients. Analyses in 2013 investigated perceived cancer risk and worry, family structure, and receipt of genetic counseling. We explored whether these were associated with meeting USPSTF guidelines for genetic counseling referral. Twenty-two (4.5 %) women met the criteria for BRCA referral. Only one of these women had previous genetic counseling, and one reported prior genetic testing. Older women were more likely to meet BRCA referral criteria (P<0.001). Although perceived risk was higher among high-risk women, 27 % of high-risk women felt their breast cancer risk was "low", and 32 % felt their risk was lower than average. About one in 22 women in primary care may require genetics services for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, but alarmingly, few actually receive these services. Also, a significant proportion do not perceive that they are at increased risk. Educational interventions may be needed for both providers and patients to increase awareness of familial risk and appropriate genetic counseling services.
- Genetic counseling
- Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome
- Primary health care
- Women's health
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health