Population-Based Study of Attitudes toward BRCA Genetic Testing among Orthodox Jewish Women

Breast J. 2017 May;23(3):333-337. doi: 10.1111/tbj.12736. Epub 2016 Nov 30.


Given the high prevalence (1 in 40) of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations among Ashkenazi Jews, population-based BRCA genetic testing in this ethnic subgroup may detect more mutation carriers. We conducted a cross-sectional survey among Orthodox Jewish women in New York City to assess breast cancer risk, genetic testing knowledge, self-efficacy, perceived breast cancer risk and worry, religious and cultural factors affecting medical decision-making. We used descriptive statistics and multivariable logistic regression models to identify predictors of genetic testing intention/uptake. Among evaluable respondents (n = 243, 53% response rate), median age was 25 and nearly half (43%) had a family history of breast cancer. Only 49% of the women had adequate genetic testing knowledge and 46% had accurate breast cancer risk perceptions. Five percent had already undergone BRCA genetic testing, 20% stated that they probably/definitely will get tested, 28% stated that they probably/definitely will not get tested, and 46% had not thought about it. High decision self-efficacy, adequate genetic testing knowledge, higher breast cancer risk, and overestimation of risk were associated with genetic testing intention/uptake. Decision support tools that improve knowledge and self-efficacy about genetic testing may facilitate population-based BRCA testing among Orthodox Jews.

Keywords: BRCA1; BRCA2; Ashkenazi Jews; breast cancer risk; genetic testing.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • BRCA1 Protein / genetics
  • BRCA2 Protein / genetics
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / psychology*
  • Genetic Testing*
  • Humans
  • Jews* / genetics
  • Jews* / psychology
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • New York
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult


  • BRCA1 Protein
  • BRCA1 protein, human
  • BRCA2 Protein
  • BRCA2 protein, human