Patient interest in recording family histories of cancer via the Internet

Genet Med. 2008 Dec;10(12):895-902. doi: 10.1097/GIM.0b013e31818de708.


Purpose: This study investigated the interest of mammogram patients in using electronic tools for recording their family histories of cancer (FHC).

Methods: Semistructured interviews were conducted with 65 patients visiting a breast center at a referral hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.

Results: Most (n = 40; 62%) respondents expressed interest in using an electronic tool for recording FHC and associated its use with a range of benefits to themselves, their families, and their health care providers. Women who were not interested (n = 25; 38%) in using an electronic tool for recording FHC were concerned about privacy issues, computer proficiency, and giving up the opportunity to provide family history information directly to the health care provider. Interest in using an electronic tool for recording FHC was not significantly associated with age, race, level of education or income, personal or FHC, or Internet access and frequency of use.

Conclusion: Electronic documentation of FHC was seen as largely desirable. However, clinical services to facilitate systematic family history documentation are likely to require more than one avenue for collecting and communicating this information, as not everyone who wants to provide a FHC to a health care provider is comfortable using the Internet to do so.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Computer Literacy
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Ohio
  • Patient Access to Records
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Women