Susan G Komen  
I've Been Diagnosed With Breast Cancer Someone I Know Was Diagnosed Share Your Story Join Us And Stay Informed Donate To End Breast Cancer
    Home > Research & Grants > Grants Program > Research Grants > Research Grants Awarded > Abstract
    Awarded Grants
    Ethnicity and Outcomes of Breast Cancer Genetic Counseling, Testing and Follow-up Risk Reduction Measures

    Scientific Abstract:
    Background: The two major breast cancer predisposition genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, were isolated in 1994 and 1995. In the ensuing decade, studies of BRCA mutation carriers have suggested risks of developing breast cancer ranging from 29 to 87%. This knowledge has led to the use of procedures aimed at breast cancer risk reduction and early detection. Although there is much information as to the existence of germ-line mutations within a multitude of diverse ethnic groups, little if any information exists as to the impact of genetic testing within minority populations. We have been able to provide BRCA testing in community facilities that provide breast cancer screening to primarily African American and Hispanic women as well as Asian women of primarily Chinese or Vietnamese descent. Thus an opportunity has been created to collect and analyze information regarding genetic testing outcomes in these populations. Objective/hypothesis: Our overall objective is to determine how different populations differ in their understanding of genetic risks, in their uptake of risk reduction methods and in patterns of sharing important genetic information with family members. We hypothesis that these populations will differ substantially in the utilization of risk reduction options available as well as the communication of genetic information among family members. Specific Aims: 1) To compare levels of understanding of implications of genetic risk after genetic counseling and testing in African American, Hispanic and Asian women; 2) To assess and compare the overall impact of genetic risk assessment in African American; Hispanic and Asian women; 3) To compare the different types of risk reduction practices used by African American, Hispanic and Asian women and 4) To determine patterns of sharing genetic information among African American, Hispanic and Asian women. Methodology: We will identify three ethnically distinct groups of women at very high genetic risk: African American, Hispanic,and Asian. We will use structured questionnaires to assess knowledge after genetic testing, the selection and utilization of risk reduction methods and the sharing of information among family members. Similar data collected from Caucasian women will be used as control data. Potential Benefits: The knowledge obtained in this study will be useful in tailoring breast cancer genetic counseling and testing protocols to different populations, which in turn will help provide effective breast cancer screening and early detection practices.

    Lay Abstract:
    Background: BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genes which are inherited in an altered or mutant form in families at very high risk of breast cancer. We have known about the existence of these genes since their discovery in 1994 and 1995. Mutation carriers are increasingly making use of procedures aimed at breast cancer risk reduction or early detection. Mutations in these genes are known to occur in all ethnic groups, however very little is known about how different populations utilize risk reduction or preventative options after undergoing genetic testing. In addition, little is known as to how communication of risk within families varies in different ethnic groups. We have established genetic counseling and testing programs in community facilities which see a high proportion of African American, Hispanic and Asian women; thus we have a unique opportunity to compare genetic testing outcomes among diverse populations. Objective/hypothesis: Our overall objective is to determine how different populations differ in their understanding of genetic risks, in their use of risk reduction methods and in patterns of sharing important genetic information with family members. We hypothesis that these populations will differ substantially in the utilization of risk reduction options available as well as the communication of genetic information among family members. Specific Aims: 1) To compare levels of understanding of implications of genetic risk after genetic counseling and testing in African American, Hispanic and Asian women. 2) To compare the overall impact of genetic risk assessment in African American, Hispanic and Asian women. 3) To compare the types of risk reduction practices used by African American, Hispanic and Asian women and 4) To compare patterns of sharing genetic information among family members in African American, Hispanic and Asian families. Methodology: We will identify three ethnically distinct groups of high risk women: African American, Hispanic, and Asian women at high risk of carrying a BRCA mutation. We will use structured questionnaires to assess knowledge after genetic testing, the selection and utilization of risk reduction methods and the sharing of information among family members. Similar data collected from Caucasian women will be used as control data. Potential Benefits: The knowledge obtained in this study will be useful in tailoring breast cancer genetic counseling and testing protocols to different populations, which in turn will help provide effective breast cancer screening and early detection practices.