Widespread racial disparities in use of BRCA 1/2 counseling

July 1, 2005

African-American women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer are only about one fifth as likely as white counterparts to receive genetic counseling for BRCA 1/2 testing (OR 0.22; 95% CI; 0.12–0.40), according to a recent case-control study from Philadelphia.

African-American women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer are only about one fifth as likely as white counterparts to receive genetic counseling for BRCA 1/2 testing (OR 0.22; 95% CI; 0.12–0.40), according to a recent case-control study from Philadelphia.

The study included 408 women with a family history of either disease, of whom 217 received genetic counseling and 191 did not. Even after adjusting for the probability of a BRCA 1/2 mutation, socioeconomic characteristics, breast and ovarian cancer risk perception and worry, attitudes about the risk and benefits of BRCA 1/2 testing, and primary-care physician discussion of BRCA 1/2 testing, researchers calculated an odds ratio of 0.28 (95% CI; 0.09–0.89) for African-American women receiving counseling.

Armstrong K, Micco E, Carney A, et al. Racial differences in the use of BRCA1/2 testing among women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer. JAMA. 2005;293:1729-1736.