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Effects of Individual and Family Functioning on Interest in Genetic Testing

Bowen D.J.a · Bourcier E.a · Press N.b · Lewis F.M.c · Burke W.c
aFred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Wash., bOregon Health Science University, Portland, Oreg., cUniversity of Washington, Seattle, Wash., USA Community Genet 2004;7:25–32 (DOI:10.1159/000080301)


Objective: The present study reports on the important issue of how family communication and support regarding breast cancer risk affects interest in genetic testing and mental health. Methods: Participants (n = 221) were women aged 18–74 who had at least one relative of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, no personal history of breast or ovarian cancer, and lived within 60 miles of Seattle, Wash. Results: Communication about breast cancer risk was reported with very low frequency across all types of relatives. Women talked with their mothers and sisters more often than their fathers, brothers, or children. The only significant predictor of interest in genetic testing was the individual level variable of seeking social support. Conclusion: Social support needs might be a part of the genetic testing process.


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