Factors associated with genetic counseling and BRCA testing in a population-based sample of young Black women with breast cancer

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2015 May;151(1):169-76. doi: 10.1007/s10549-015-3374-7. Epub 2015 Apr 14.


Concerns about the potential for genomic advances to increase health disparities have been raised. Thus, it is important to assess referral and uptake of genetic counseling (GC) and testing in minority populations at high risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC). Black women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer ≤age 50 in 2009-2012 were recruited through the Florida State Cancer Registry 6-18 months following diagnosis and completed a baseline questionnaire. Summary statistics, Chi-square tests, and path modeling were conducted to examine which demographic and clinical variables were associated with referral and access to genetic services. Of the 440 participants, all met national criteria for GC, yet only 224 (51 %) were referred for or received GC and/or HBOC testing. Variables most strongly associated with healthcare provider referral for GC included having a college education (OR 2.1), diagnosis at or below age 45 (OR 2.0), and triple negative tumor receptor status (OR 1.7). The strongest association with receipt of GC and/or HBOC testing was healthcare provider referral (OR 7.9), followed by private health insurance at diagnosis (OR 2.8), and household income greater than $35,000 in the year prior to diagnosis (OR 2.0). Study findings suggest efforts are needed to improve genetic services access among a population-based sample of high-risk Black women. These results indicate that socioeconomic factors and physician referral patterns contribute to disparities in access to genetic services within this underserved minority population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • BRCA1 Protein / genetics*
  • BRCA2 Protein / genetics*
  • Blacks / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / economics
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Florida
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Testing
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / economics
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Young Adult


  • BRCA1 Protein
  • BRCA2 Protein
  • BRCA2 protein, human

Supplementary concepts

  • Breast Cancer, Familial