Providers' perceptions and practices regarding BRCA1/2 genetic counseling and testing in African American women

J Genet Couns. 2011 Dec;20(6):674-89. doi: 10.1007/s10897-011-9396-3. Epub 2011 Aug 6.


We examined healthcare providers' perceptions of genetic counseling and testing in African American women at moderate to high-risk of carrying a BRCA1/2 mutation. We conducted 20 in-depth interviews with genetic counselors (n = 5), medical oncologists (n = 8), obstetrician/gynecologists (n = 2) and surgeons (n = 5). Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed and independently coded by two individuals using a content analysis approach. Seven themes emerged relevant to providers' perceptions of African American women's use of BRCA1/2 genetic services: access factors, cultural beliefs and preferences, effects of testing, patient motivators for genetic counseling and testing, patient-provider communication, reasons for provider referral, and reasons for patient refusal. Providers identified individual- and system-level barriers to African American women's use of genetic services, including lack of follow-up after referrals to genetic specialists and challenges to obtaining financial coverage for under- and uninsured high-risk women. Results have implications for physician and patient education regarding appropriate referrals to and uptake of genetic services in at-risk African American women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • African Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Female
  • Genes, BRCA1*
  • Genes, BRCA2*
  • Genetic Counseling*
  • Humans
  • Mutation