Are young women ready for BRCA testing? Comparing attitudes and comprehension of two age groups of healthy Italian women

Teresa Gavaruzzi, Alessandra Tasso, Marzena Franiuk, Liliana Varesco, Lorella Lotto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Mutations in the BRCA 1/2 genes increase the risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer compared with the general population. However, the risk is low at age 30, and for women younger than 25, no preventive or screening options are available. Scientists wonder whether genetic predictive BRCA testing is appropriate at a very young age. Furthermore, although young women have positive attitudes toward testing, their understanding of genetic information seems scarce. Objective: To assess how young (18–24)versus adult (30–45)women at general population- level risk understand information about BRCA testing. Methods: 302 women read an informative pamphlet and answered an ad-hoc questionnaire assessing usefulness of the information for decision making, intention to undergo predictive testing, and comprehension (perceived, general, and risk comprehension; open-ended questions). Results: Younger women had a lower comprehension of important BRCA information; it was more difficult for young women to identify the risk figures of cancer, and they showed errors when answering open-ended questions. Limitations: Results are limited by the study's hypothetical nature. Conclusions: Young women seem to have particular difficulty understanding BRCA information. Practice implications: Counsellors should be aware of the difficulties young women have in understanding information about BRCA predictive testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1210-1216
Number of pages7
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Volume102
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2019

Keywords

  • BRCA mutation
  • Breast and ovarian cancer
  • Oncology
  • Preventive genetic testing
  • Young women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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