Awareness and Uptake of Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing Among Cancer Cases, Their Relatives, and Controls: The Northwest Cancer Genetics Network

ArticleinGenetic Testing and Molecular Biomarkers 16(7):744-8 · June 2012with7 Reads
DOI: 10.1089/gtmb.2011.0235 · Source: PubMed
To determine if awareness of, interest in, and use of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing is greater in a sample of high-risk individuals (cancer cases and their relatives), compared to controls. Participants were recruited from the Northwest Cancer Genetics Network. A follow-up survey was mailed to participants to assess DTC genetic testing awareness, interest, and use. One thousand two hundred sixty-seven participants responded to the survey. Forty-nine percent of respondents were aware of DTC genetic testing. Of those aware, 19% indicated interest in obtaining and <1% reported having used DTC genetic testing. Additional information supplied by respondents who reported use of DTC genetic tests indicated that 55% of these respondents likely engaged in clinical genetic testing, rather than DTC genetic testing. Awareness of DTC genetic testing was greater in our sample of high-risk individuals than in controls and population-based studies. Although interest in and use of these tests among cases in our sample were equivalent to other population-based studies, interest in testing was higher among relatives and people who self-referred for a registry focused on cancer than among cases and controls. Additionally, our results suggest that there may be some confusion about what constitutes DTC genetic testing.
    • "In the present study, one third of participants were familiar with the concept of personal genomics, a proportion that can be classified as moderate compared to other studies involving young and middle-aged adults (Cherkas 2010; Finney-Rutten 2012; Hall 2012; Kolor 2012; Ortiz 2011). This finding is likely to be related to the increasing media attention and current public debate around a revision of the Swiss laws on genetic testing. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives: To explore attitudes of Swiss older adults towards personal genomics (PG). Methods: Using an anonymized voluntary paper-and-pencil survey, data were collected from 151 men and women aged 60-89 years attending the Seniorenuniversität Zurich, Switzerland (Seniors' University). Analyses were conducted using descriptive and inferential statistics. Results: One third of the respondents were aware of PG, and more than half indicated interest in undergoing PG testing. The primary motivation provided was respondents' interest in finding out about their own disease risk, followed by willingness to contribute to scientific research. Forty-four percent were not interested in undergoing testing because results might be worrisome, or due to concerns about the validity of the results. Only a minority of respondents mentioned privacy-related concerns. Further, 66% were interested in undergoing clinic-based PG motivated by the opportunity to contribute to scientific research (78%) and 75% of all study participants indicated strong preferences to donate genomic data to public research institutions. Conclusion: This study indicates a relatively positive overall attitude towards personal genomic testing among older Swiss adults, a group not typically represented in surveys about personal genomics. Genomic data of older adults can be highly relevant to late life health and maintenance of quality of life. In addition they can be an invaluable source for better understanding of longevity, health and disease. Understanding the attitudes of this population towards genomic analyses, although important, remains under-examined.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2016
    • "Interest was associated with the cost of the testing and the amount of risk conveyed through the testing. In another study, by Hall et al., 19 % of participants drawn from the Northwest Cancer Genetics Network were interested in SNP testing (Hall et al. 2012). Two factors could explain the divergent results between our and Hall et al.'s results. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have the potential to improve personalized medicine in breast cancer care. As new SNPs are discovered, further enhancing risk classification, SNP testing may serve to complement family history and phenotypic risk factors when assessed in a clinical setting. SNP analysis is particularly relevant to high-risk women who may seek out such information to guide their decision-making around risk-reduction. However, little is known about how high-risk women may respond to SNP testing with regard to clinical decision-making. We examined high-risk women's interest in SNP testing for breast cancer risk through an online survey of hypothetical testing scenarios. Women stated their preferences for sharing test results and selected the most likely follow-up action they would pursue in each of the test result scenarios (above average and below average risk for breast cancer). Four hundred seventy-eight women participated. Most women (89 %) did not know what a SNP was prior to the study. Once SNP testing was described, 75 % were interested in SNP testing. Participants stated an interest in lifestyle interventions for risk-reduction and wanted to discuss their testing results with their doctor or a genetic counselor. Women are interested in SNP testing and are prepared to make lifestyle changes based on testing results. Women's preference for discussing testing results with a healthcare provider aligns with the current trend towards SNP testing in a clinical setting.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Direct-to-consumer genetic testing (DTC-GT) has sparked much controversy and undergone dramatic changes in its brief history. Debates over appropriate health policies regarding DTC-GT would benefit from empirical research on its benefits, harms, and limitations. We review the recent literature (2011-present) and summarize findings across (1) content analyses of DTC-GT websites, (2) studies of consumer perspectives and experiences, and (3) surveys of relevant health care providers. Findings suggest that neither the health benefits envisioned by DTC-GT proponents (e.g., significant improvements in positive health behaviors) nor the worst fears expressed by its critics (e.g., catastrophic psychological distress and misunderstanding of test results, undue burden on the health care system) have materialized to date. However, research in this area is in its early stages and possesses numerous key limitations. We note needs for future studies to illuminate the impact of DTC-GT and thereby guide practice and policy regarding this rapidly evolving approach to personal genomics.
    Article · Sep 2013
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