Attitudes towards genetic screening for predisposition to colon cancer among cancer patients, their relatives and members of the community. Results of focus group interviews

Community Genet. 2003;6(1):29-36. doi: 10.1159/000069543.


Objective: To compare knowledge of and interest in genetic testing for hereditary colon cancer syndromes.

Methods: Colorectal cancer patients, first-degree relatives of colon cancer patients and controls were recruited from a familial cancer registry. Focus groups explored attitudes about genetic testing.

Results: All three groups conveyed interest in testing, but lacked knowledge about testing and its implications. After receiving information regarding the potential benefits and costs of testing (including insurance and employment issues) all three groups were disinclined to be tested. The reasons varied among risk groups.

Conclusions: When informed about the costs and implications of testing, individuals may be reluctant to undergo genetic testing, regardless of baseline risk. Barriers to testing will vary depending on the perceived risk of carrying a mutation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Family
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Testing / economics
  • Genetic Testing / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*