Cancer-specific distress is related to women's decisions to undergo BRCA1 testing
Colorectal Neoplasms, Hereditary Nonpolyposis
DNA Repair Enzymes
Problem. To examine the role of demographic variables, objective risk, perceived risk and cancer-specific distress in women's decisions to undergo genetic testing. Methods. One-hundred and five women with family histories of breast cancer completed a baseline questionnaire after which they were invited to attend a genetic counseling session and provide a blood sample for BRCA1 testing. Results. Fifty-five percent of the participants provided blood samples. After controlling for age, objective risk and perceived risk, which were positively related to provision of blood sample, women with moderate levels of cancer-specific distress were more likely to provide a blood sample than women with high or low levels of cancer-specific distress. Conclusions. Cancer-specific distress affects women's decisions to undergo genetic testing for BRCA1. Genetic counseling needs to address cancer-specific distress, since it may affect the probability that individuals are making an informed decision about undergoing genetic testing for breast-cancer susceptibility.