Published in Cancer Detection and Prevention 2001; 25(4):319-327.

Awareness of Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer Risk among Women with a Family History of Breast Cancer: Effect of Women's Information Sources on Their Awareness

Hendrika Meischke, PhD, MPH,a Deborah Bowen, PhD,b and Alan Kuniyuki, MSb

aDepartment of Health Services, University of Washington, and bFred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA

Address all correspondence and reprint requests to: Hendrika Meischke. PhD, Department of Health Services, Box 357660, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 95195.

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to relate women's awareness of breast cancer risk genetic testing to the sources of information used by women for obtaining information about breast health. A sample of 354 women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer was interviewed. Study variables included women's information sources for breast health, personal risk perceptions, family history of breast cancer, personal experience (i.e., having had a biopsy), awareness of genetic testing, and demographic variables. Regression analyses were conducted to assess the relationships among the variables. Only approximately one-third of the study participants were moderately aware of genetic testing for breast cancer risk. The Internet Web was the only information source significantly related to awareness of genetic testing. Having had a biopsy, being more highly educated, and being married also were significant predictors of awareness of genetic testing. Study participants were not uniformly aware of genetic testing. If the diffusion of Web technology continues, the Web may be a promising source for increasing awareness on genetic testing for breast cancer risk.