Context: Recent developments in genetic testing allow us to detect individuals with inherited susceptibility to some cancers. Genetic testing to identify carriers of cancer-related mutations may help lower risk by encouraging preventive behaviors and surveillance. This study assessed willingness of colon cancer cases and relatives to receive genetic information that may indicate an increased risk for cancer, to whom they would disclose genetic information, and whether receiving genetic test results may influence future prevention behaviors among individuals enrolled in the Seattle Colorectal Cancer Family Registry. Methods: Incident invasive colorectal cancer cases were identified from the Puget Sound Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) registry. In 2007, a sequential sample of cases and relatives (n = 147) were asked to respond to a questionnaire addressing study aims. The questionnaire was administered during a baseline or 5-year follow-up interview. Results: Patterns of response to each statement were similar between colorectal cancer cases and relatives. Both colorectal cases (95%) and relatives (95%) reported willingness to receive genetic information. Nearly all participants would tell their doctor the results of a genetic test (99% of cases; 98% of relatives), and all married participants would tell their spouses. Cases (96%) anticipated being slightly more likely than relatives (90%) to change their cancer screening behavior, but this difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.33). Conclusions: A high percentage of both colorectal cancer cases and relatives sampled from the Seattle Colorectal Cancer Family Registry are interested in identifying their genetic status, discussing their genetic status with their family and doctor, and adopting behavioral changes that may reduce cancer risk.
ASJC Scopus subject areas