Breast Cancer; Genetic Testing; Ethnic Attitudes and Interest; Minorities; Special Population Groups


Translational Medical Research


Purpose: This study examined interest in and attitudes toward genetic testing in 5 different population groups.

Methods: The survey included African American, Asian American, Latina, Native American, and Appalachian women with varying familial histories of breast cancer. A total of 49 women were interviewed in person. Descriptive and nonparametric statistical techniques were used to assess ethnic group differences.

Results: Overall, interest in testing was high. All groups endorsed more benefits than risks. There were group differences regarding endorsement of specific benefits and risks: testing to “follow doctor recommendations” (p=0.017), “concern for effects on family” (p=0.044), “distrust of modern medicine” (p=0.036), “cost” (p=0.025), and “concerns about communication of results to others” (p=0.032). There was a significant inverse relationship between interest and genetic testing cost (p

Conclusion: Cost may be an important barrier to obtaining genetic testing services, and participants would benefit by genetic counseling that incorporates the unique cultural values and beliefs of each group to create an individualized, culturally competent program. Further research about attitudes toward genetic testing is needed among Asian Americans, Native Americans, and Appalachians for whom data are severely lacking. Future study of the different Latina perceptions toward genetic testing are encouraged.