Black Women With Breast Cancer Face Barriers to Genetic Counseling


(HealthDay News) — Oncologists report racial disparities in perceived barriers to genetic counseling and testing (GCT) for patients with breast cancer, according to a study published online Oct. 18 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Foluso O. Ademuyiwa, M.D., from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues surveyed 277 U.S. breast oncology physicians about their knowledge, attitudes, practices, and perceived barriers in providing GCT to patients with breast cancer.

The researchers found that while only 1.8 percent of respondents indicated they were more likely to refer a White patient than refer an African American patient for GCT, 66.9 percent believed that African American women with breast cancer have lower rates of GCT than White women.

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Nearly two-thirds of respondents (63.4 percent) indicated that African American women face more barriers than White women do, and 21 percent felt that African American women require more information and guidance during the GCT decision-making process compared with White women.

Overall, about one-third of respondents (32 percent) indicated that lack of trust was a barrier to GCT in all patients, but 58.1 percent felt this was a greater barrier for African American women. Additionally, 13.9 percent of respondents believed that noncompliance with GCT is a barrier for all patients, while 30.6 percent believed that African American women are more likely than White women to be noncompliant.

“Awareness of such physician biases can enable further work to address inequities, ultimately leading to improved GCT equity for African American women with breast cancer,” the authors write.

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