Influence of race/ethnicity on genetic counseling and testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer

Breast J. Sep-Oct 2009;15 Suppl 1:S56-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4741.2009.00798.x.


Risk assessment coupled with genetic counseling and testing for the cancer predisposition genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) has become an integral element of comprehensive patient evaluation and cancer risk management in the United States for individuals meeting high-risk criteria for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC). For mutation carriers, several options for risk modification have achieved substantial reductions in future cancer risk. However, several recent studies have shown lower rates of BRCA1/2 counseling and testing among minority populations. Here, we explore the role of race/ethnicity in cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling and genetic testing for HBOC and the BRCA1/2 cancer predisposition genes. Barriers to genetic services related to race/ethnicity and underserved populations, including socioeconomic barriers (e.g., time, access, geographic, language/cultural, awareness, cost) and psychosocial barriers (e.g., medical mistrust, perceived disadvantages to genetic services), as well as additional barriers to care once mutation carriers are identified, will be reviewed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Genes, BRCA1
  • Genes, BRCA2
  • Genetic Counseling* / economics
  • Genetic Counseling* / psychology
  • Genetic Testing* / economics
  • Genetic Testing* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Minority Groups
  • Mutation
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / prevention & control