"Are you at risk for hereditary breast cancer?": development of a personal risk assessment tool for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

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Journal Title

Journal of genetic counseling

MeSH Headings

Breast Neoplasms, Female, Genes, BRCA1, Genes, BRCA2, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Humans, Medical History Taking, Mutation, Ovarian Neoplasms, Risk Assessment


Identification of risk for the hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome (HBOC) is important, as research has demonstrated the benefits of risk-reducing interventions for women with or at risk for this disorder. Knowledge among women regarding risk factors for hereditary breast cancer and the existence of cancer genetics services appears limited. The goal of this project was to develop a tool to broaden women's awareness regarding their potential risk for HBOC. A formal instructional design process was used to develop a brochure to facilitate recognition of HBOC risk among women attending a no-cost breast and cervical cancer screening clinic. Brochure development was guided by gathering feedback from potential users early and often. The resulting brochure included four parts: (1) a brief description of the impact of hereditary breast cancer risk on one's health; (2) a personal and family history collection table; (3) a series of questions enabling the user to self-assess HBOC risk; (4) a list of resources for women at risk for HBOC. User feedback indicated that the brochure was easy to use. The project demonstrated that women can self-evaluate their risk for HBOC. Future work will evaluate this tool among a broader population of women.



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