Colorectal cancer survivors' interest in genetic testing for hereditary cancer: implications for universal tumor screening

Genet Test Mol Biomarkers. 2012 Jun;16(6):493-9. doi: 10.1089/gtmb.2011.0247. Epub 2012 Jan 6.


Aims: Benefits of universal tumor screening for Lynch syndrome (LS), the most common form of hereditary colorectal cancer (CRC), will be realized only if patients are interested in genetic counseling and testing. This study explores interest in genetic testing for hereditary CRC among CRC patients who have never received genetic counseling or testing.

Methods: Using results from a cross-sectional survey of CRC patients (n=91) at varying categories of risk for hereditary CRC, bivariate and multivariable analyses were conducted to compare positive and negative attitudinal beliefs regarding genetic testing, risk perceptions, demographics, and tumor stage of those who were interested in genetic testing (n=61) and those who were not interested or were not sure (n=30).

Results: Although significant at the bivariate level, gender, perceived relative risk of hereditary cancer, employment status, and belief that genetic testing would help in preparing for the future were not significantly related to interest in genetic testing when controlling for all other variables in a logistic regression model. The two factors that remained significant include a single-item question measuring the belief that genetic testing is warranted based on personal/family history and a positive attitudinal scale regarding the utility of genetic testing in medical decision making and cancer prevention.

Conclusion: Results have potential implications for policies regarding universal tumor screening for LS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / psychology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms, Hereditary Nonpolyposis* / diagnosis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms, Hereditary Nonpolyposis* / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms, Hereditary Nonpolyposis* / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Genetic Counseling / psychology
  • Genetic Testing*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors / psychology*