Attitudes toward genetic testing in patients with colorectal cancer

Anita Yeomans Kinney, Yeon Ah Choi, Brenda DeVellis, Robert Millikan, Erin Kobetz, Robert S. Sandler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine risk perceptions and interest in genetic testing among African American and White patients with colorectal cancer. DESCRIPTION OF STUDY: In this cross-sectional study, 98 patients with colorectal cancer participated in a brief structured telephone interview. Information was collected on knowledge and risk perceptions regarding colorectal cancer genetics, health behaviors, knowledge about the availability of genetic testing, and interest in genetic testing for colorectal cancer susceptibility. RESULTS: Sixty-one percent of the participants were worried about their relatives' risk of colorectal cancer, and 64% were concerned about being a colorectal cancer susceptibility gene carrier. Although 81% of the participants reported that they had never heard about a genetic test for colorectal cancer susceptibility, 72% stated that they would want to take the test if it were available. Predictors of intention to have a genetic test were younger age, less advanced stage of disease, and more frequent thoughts about colorectal cancer being hereditary. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: These results suggest that the demand for genetic testing may be great, despite a general lack of knowledge about colorectal cancer genetics and the potential risks and limitations of testing. Education and counseling about cancer genetics and genetic testing may clarify misconceptions about hereditary colorectal cancer and help patients with colorectal cancer and their family members make informed decisions about whether to undergo testing.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)178-186
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Oncology


  • Cancer genetics
  • Colorectal carcinoma
  • Genetic counseling
  • Genetic testing
  • Hereditary cancer


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