Does knowledge about the genetics of breast cancer differ between nongeneticist physicians who do or do not discuss or order BRCA testing?

Genet Med. Mar-Apr 2003;5(2):99-105. doi: 10.1097/01.GIM.0000055198.63593.32.


Purpose: To assess nongeneticist physicians' knowledge and experience with BRCA1/2 testing.

Methods: In 1998, 2250 internists, obstetrician-gynecologists (Ob-Gyns), and oncologists practicing in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, or New Jersey were surveyed.

Results: Forty percent responded. Only 13% of internists, 21% of Ob-Gyns, and 40% of oncologists correctly answered all four knowledge questions about genetic aspects of breast cancer and testing for it. Knowledge was associated with discussing or ordering only among oncologists.

Conclusion: Despite deficiencies in their knowledge about the genetic aspects of breast cancer, many nongeneticist physicians have discussed testing and some have ordered testing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genes, BRCA1
  • Genes, BRCA2
  • Genetic Testing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Physicians, Family*
  • Regression Analysis