Individual Breast Cancer Risk Assessment in Underserved Populations: Integrating Empirical Bioethics and Health Disparities Research


Research suggests that individual breast cancer risk assessment may improve adherence to recommended screening and prevention guidelines, thereby decreasing morbidity and mortality. Further research on the use of risk assessment models in underserved minority populations is critical to informing national public health efforts to eliminate breast cancer disparities. However, implementing individual breast cancer risk assessment in underserved patient populations raises particular ethical issues that require further examination. After reviewing these issues, we will discuss how empirical bioethics research can be integrated with health disparities research to inform the translation of research findings. Our in-progress National Cancer Institute (NCI) funded study, How Do Underserved Minority Women Think About Breast Cancer?, conducted in the context of a larger study on individual breast cancer risk assessment, is presented as a model.