Genetic Testing for Cancer Risk and Perceived Importance of Genetic Information Among US Population by Race and Ethnicity: a Cross-sectional Study

J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2023 Jan 23;1-13. doi: 10.1007/s40615-023-01526-4. Online ahead of print.


Background: Genetic testing can help determine the risk of many cancers and guide cancer prevention and treatment plans. Despite increasing concern about disparities in precision cancer medicine, public knowledge and cancer genetic testing by race and ethnicity have not been well investigated.

Methods: We analyzed data from the 2020 Health Information National Trends Survey in 2022. Self-reported cancer genetic testing (e.g., Lynch syndrome, BRCA1/2) knowledge and utilization were compared by race and ethnicity. Perceived importance of genetic information for cancer care (prevention, detection, and treatment) was also examined in relation to the uptake of cancer genetic testing. Multivariable logistic regression models were employed to examine factors associated with knowledge and genetic testing to calculate predicted probability of undergoing genetic testing by race and ethnicity.

Results: Of 3551 study participants, 37.8% reported having heard of genetic testing for cancer risk and 3.9% stated that they underwent cancer genetic testing. Being non-Hispanic Black (OR=0.47, 95% CI=0.30-0.75) or Hispanic (OR=0.56, CI=0.35-0.90) was associated with lower odds of genetic testing knowledge. Although Hispanic or non-Hispanic Black respondents were more likely to perceive higher importance of genetic information versus non-Hispanic Whites, they had a lower predicted probability of cancer genetic testing.

Conclusion: Non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic adults had lower knowledge and were less likely to undergo cancer genetic testing than non-Hispanic Whites. Further research is needed on sources of genetic testing information for racial and ethnic minorities and the barriers to accessing genetic testing to inform the development of effective cancer risk genetic testing promotion.

Keywords: Cancer risk genetic testing; Health Information National Trends Survey; Public knowledge; Racial and ethnic disparities.