Genetic Counseling, Cancer Screening, Breast Cancer Characteristics, and General Health among a Diverse Population of BRCA Genetic Testers


Outcomes after genetic testing for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) Syndrome have not been well studied in underserved populations. We surveyed 1,123 BRCA testers from a genetic counseling program serving an academic cancer center (n=1,045) and a public county hospital (n=78) a median of 3.7 years after testing for mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 (breast cancer susceptibility genes). We compared genetic counseling outcomes, cancer screening rates, and self-reported general health. We found no differences in genetic counseling outcomes between hospitals. Breast cancer screening rates were similarly high at both hospitals, which are warranted in this high-risk population. Screening rates for ovarian, colon, and skin cancer were significantly lower in participants from the public hospital. BRCA results were not a predictor of general health at either hospital. When creating a genetic counseling program that serves women in different hospital settings, providers should emphasize guidelines-based screening recommendations for all patients.