Aims: To determine if awareness of, interest in, and use of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing is greater in a sample of high-risk individuals (cancer cases and their relatives), compared to controls.
Methods: Participants were recruited from the Northwest Cancer Genetics Network. A follow-up survey was mailed to participants to assess DTC genetic testing awareness, interest, and use.
Results: One thousand two hundred sixty-seven participants responded to the survey. Forty-nine percent of respondents were aware of DTC genetic testing. Of those aware, 19% indicated interest in obtaining and <1% reported having used DTC genetic testing. Additional information supplied by respondents who reported use of DTC genetic tests indicated that 55% of these respondents likely engaged in clinical genetic testing, rather than DTC genetic testing.
Conclusion: Awareness of DTC genetic testing was greater in our sample of high-risk individuals than in controls and population-based studies. Although interest in and use of these tests among cases in our sample were equivalent to other population-based studies, interest in testing was higher among relatives and people who self-referred for a registry focused on cancer than among cases and controls. Additionally, our results suggest that there may be some confusion about what constitutes DTC genetic testing.