270918 Breast cancer genetic testing awareness, attitudes and intentions of Latinas living in the US-Mexico border: A qualitative study

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Amelie Ramirez, DrPH , Dept of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
Patricia Chalela, DrPH, MPH , IHPR Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistic, School of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
Jose Pagan, PhD , School of Public Health, Department of Health Management and Policy, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, TX
Dejun Su, PhD , Department of Sociology, University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg
Edgar Munoz, MS , The Institute of Health Promotion Research, Dept of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
Genetic testing for breast cancer may facilitate better-informed decisions regarding cancer prevention, risk reduction, more effective early detection, and better determination of risk for family members. Despite these potential benefits, significant portions of the population—particularly Latinas—lack awareness of genetic testing for breast cancer susceptibility. Latinas comprise less than 4% of women undergoing BRCA genetic testing. To uncover reasons for Latinas' low testing participation, this study explores the awareness, attitudes, and behavioral intentions to undergo genetic testing among average-risk Latinas along the Texas-Mexico border. Eight focus groups were conducted with 58 Latinas ages 19-69. Participants mostly had less than a high-school education (43%), spoke primarily Spanish (52%), were of Mexican-American origin (90%) and had a family income of $20,000 or less (54%). Focus groups found that most participants had positive attitudes and strong interest in genetic testing, yet lacked general awareness and knowledge about genetic testing, its risks, benefits, and limitations. This juxtaposition warrants the delivery of culturally adapted risk information to increase and ensure Latinas' understanding of testing during their decision-making process. Key Latino values—religiosity, importance of family and the influential role of health care providers in health decisions—also were identified as considerations for designing interventions targeting this specific group. Further research is needed to identify effective ways to communicate genetic risk susceptibility information to Latinas to help them make informed testing decisions.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Describe factors that influence average risk Latinas' behavioral intentions to undergo genetic testing.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator of dozens of federally funded grants focusing on Latinos and cancer. Among my scientific interests has been the development of strategies for 1) educating our Latino community about the importance of genetics and genetic testing, among other cancer-related topics and 2) identifying the best ways to disseminate genomic health information to our Latino community.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.