If we build it ... will they come?--establishing a cancer genetics services clinic for an underserved predominantly Latina cohort

J Genet Couns. 2006 Dec;15(6):505-14. doi: 10.1007/s10897-006-9052-5.


Background: Cancer genetic counseling and testing is a standard of care option for appropriate families and can identify individuals at increased risk prior to diagnosis, when prevention or detection strategies are most effective. Despite documented efficacy of cancer risk reduction in high-risk individuals, underserved and minority individuals have a disproportionate cancer burden and limited access to genetic counseling.

Methods: A needs assessment survey documented gaps in knowledge and interest in prevention. Satellite clinics were established at two indigent healthcare systems. Cancer genetics CME lectures were conducted and referral guidelines disseminated to clinicians who referred patients for counseling.

Results: An increase in clinician knowledge was demonstrated post-CME and reflected by quality referrals. Eighty-eight percent of patients kept their appointments. In the predominantly Latina(6) (n=77) clinic population, 71.4% were affected with cancer, and 17 mutation positive families were identified. Preliminary data shows a positive impact on patients' motivation and behavior. The majority has expressed satisfaction and reduction in anxiety.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates feasibility and acceptability of cancer genetics services in this population, suggesting the potential to reduce cancer morbidity in underserved, high-risk families.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Community-Institutional Relations
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Genetic Counseling / methods
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Hispanic Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medically Underserved Area*
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Preventive Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Surveys and Questionnaires