Purpose: To inform development of a culturally sensitive hereditary breast and ovarian cancer communication initiative and related clinical genetic services.
Methods: Five focus groups were conducted with 51 female and male Latinos. Educational materials were designed to communicate information about hereditary breast or ovarian cancer and availability of relevant clinical services or prevention strategies. Focus groups explored participants' knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, BRCA1/2 testing, and communication preferences for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer health messages.
Results: Overall, awareness of familial breast and ovarian cancer and availability of genetic risk assessment was low. Once informed, participants held favorable attitudes toward risk assessment and counseling services. Critical themes of the research highlighted the need to provide bilingual media products and use of a variety of strategies to increase awareness about hereditary cancer risk and availability of clinical genetic services. Important barriers were identified regarding family cancer history communication and cancer prevention services. Strategies were suggested for communicating cancer genetic information to increase awareness and overcome these barriers; these included both targeted and tailored approaches.
Conclusion: This research suggests that cancer genetic communication efforts should consider community and cultural perspectives as well as health care access issues before widespread implementation.