Am J Med Genet A 2006 Oct;140(20):2198-206
Genetic Disease Research Branch, NHGRI, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-0249, USA.
This study aimed to ascertain whether cancer risk perception changed following the offer and subsequent receipt of BRCA1/2 results and to evaluate breast and ovarian screening practices in testers and non-testers. Members of thirteen HBOC families were offered BRCA1/2 testing for a known family mutation. Perceived risk for developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer or for carrying the familial BRCA1/2 mutation, was assessed at baseline and again at 6-9 months following the receipt of test results. Breast and ovarian cancer screening data were obtained at both time-points. A total of 138 women participated and 120 (87%) chose to be tested for a known familial mutation. Twenty-eight women (24%) were identified as carriers and their perceived ovarian cancer risk and their perception of being a mutation carrier increased (P = 0.01 for both). Those testing negatives had a significant decrease in all dimensions of risk perception (P < 0.01). Regression analysis showed test results to be strong predictors of follow-up risk perception (P = 0.001), however, they were not predictors of screening practices at follow-up. Testers were more likely to have completed a clinical breast exam following testing than decliners. Mammography was positively associated with baseline adherence, age, and intrusive thoughts. Ovarian cancer worries only predicted pelvic ultrasound screening post-testing. Baseline practices and psychological factors appear to be stronger predictors of health behavior than test results.