Disparities; Lynch syndrome; Colorectal Cancer; African Americans; Genetic Testing; Primary Care Physicians


Medicine and Health Sciences | Public Health


Genetic counseling and testing for inherited cancer syndromes have the potential to save lives and may be an avenue for addressing health care disparities among African Americans newly diagnosed with colorectal cancer (CRC); and their close relatives. African Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with CRC at younger ages (under age 50 years), and diagnosed at later stages when cancer is more aggressive and difficult to treat, which are factors associated with hereditary cancers such as Lynch syndrome-related CRC. Considering the benefits of genetic testing for hereditary cancer syndromes - risk stratification, preventive surveillance, targeted treatment, and subsequent reduction in morbidity and mortality among patients by up to 60% - it appears that genetic testing may have a role in prevention, early intervention and reduction of CRC disparities in African Americans. Primary care physicians (PCPs), often the access point to the healthcare system, were anticipated to be at the forefront of genetic counseling and testing. However, a growing body of literature indicates that PCPs see genetic testing as the role of a specialist. This quantitative survey research study, based on the constructs of the Diffusion of Innovation Theory (Rogers, 2003), explored the factors which influence the likelihood of adoption of genetic counseling and testing for Lynch syndrome-related colorectal cancer among PCPs in Florida.

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