A pilot randomized trial of an educational intervention to increase genetic counseling and genetic testing among Latina breast cancer survivors

J Genet Couns. 2021 Apr;30(2):394-405. doi: 10.1002/jgc4.1324. Epub 2020 Sep 16.


Latinas are less likely to participate in genetic counseling (GC) and genetic testing (GT) than non-Hispanic Whites. A multisite, randomized pilot study tested a culturally targeted educational intervention to increase uptake of GC/GT among Latina breast cancer (BC) survivors (N = 52). Participants were recruited in Tampa, FL and Ponce, PR and randomized to: (a) fact sheet about BC survivorship (control) or (b) a culturally targeted educational booklet about GC/GT (intervention). Participants in the intervention condition were also offered no-cost telephone GC followed by free GT with mail-based saliva sample collection. Participants self-reported hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) knowledge and emotional distress at baseline and 1- and 3-month follow-ups. We used logistic regression to examine differences in GC/GT uptake by study arm (primary outcome) and repeated measures ANOVA to examine the effects of study arm and time on HBOC knowledge and emotional distress (secondary outcomes). Compared to the control arm, intervention participants were more likely to complete GC (ORIntervention = 13.92, 95% CI = 3.06-63.25, p < .01) and GT (ORIntervention = 12.93, 95% CI = 2.82-59.20, p < .01). Study site did not predict uptake of GC (p = .08) but Ponce participants were more likely to complete GT (ORPonce = 4.53, 95% CI = 1.04-19.72, p = .04). ANOVAs demonstrated an increase in HBOC knowledge over time across both groups (F(2,88) = 12.24, p < .01, ηp 2 = 0.22). We also found a significant interaction of study arm and time, such that intervention participants demonstrated a greater and sustained (to the 3-month follow-up) increase in knowledge than control participants (F(2,88) = 3.66, p = .03, ηp 2 = 0.08). No other main or interaction effects were significant (all p's> .15). Study findings demonstrate the potential of our culturally targeted print intervention. Lessons learned from this multisite pilot study for enhancing GC/GT in Latinas include the need to attend to both access to GC/GT and individual factors such as attitudes and knowledge.

Keywords: Hispanic; Latina; breast cancer; educational intervention; genetic counseling; genetic testing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural