Factors Influencing Discussion of Cancer Genetic Testing with Health-Care Providers in a Population-Based Survey

Sukh Makhnoon, Robert Yu, Sonia A. Cunningham, Susan K. Peterson, Sanjay Shete

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: Discussion of cancer genetic testing with health-care providers (HCPs) is necessary to undergo testing to inform cancer risk assessment and prevention. Given the rapid evolution in genetic testing practice in oncology, we describe the current landscape of population-level cancer genetic testing behaviors. Methods: A questionnaire including items regarding discussion of cancer genetic testing with HCPs was administered to a nonprobability sample (N = 2,029) of the Texas population. Results: Overall, 11% of respondents discussed cancer genetic testing with HCPs. In multivariable analysis, discussion was significantly related to having a personal history of breast/ovarian/colon cancer (OR = 11.57, 95% CI = 5.34-25.03), personal history of other cancer (OR = 3.18, 95% CI = 1.69-5.97), and health information-seeking behaviors (OR = 1.73, 95% CI = 1.12-2.66). Surprisingly, respondents who believed that inherited predispositions in addition to other modifiable risk factors cause cancer were less likely to discuss genetic testing compared to those who did not believe that inherited cancer predispositions cause cancer (OR = 0.54, 95% CI = 0.36-0.79). Discussion: The high discussion rate may be attributed to increased public awareness of genetic testing and adoption of more inclusive clinical genetic testing guidelines. The findings suggest that efforts to increase public awareness of the utility of genetic testing on personalized cancer risk assessment and cancer prevention are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-170
Number of pages11
JournalPublic Health Genomics
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Discussion
  • Genetic testing
  • Healthcare providers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Genetics(clinical)


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