Saudi Women's Interest in Breast Cancer Gene Testing: Possible Influence of Awareness, Perceived Risk and Socio-demographic Factors

  • Published : 2012.08.31


Background: Development of effective educational strategies should accompany increases in public awareness and the availability of genetic testing for breast cancer (BC). These educational strategies should be designed to fulfill the knowledge gap while considering factors that influence women's interest in order to facilitate decision making. Objective: To determine the possible correlates of Saudi women's interest in BC genes testing including socio-demographics, the level of awareness towards BC genes, the family history of BC and the perceived personal risk among adult Saudi women in Al Hassa, Saudi Arabia. Subjects and methods: This cross-sectional study was carried out during the second BC community-based campaign in Al Hassa, Saudi Arabia. All Saudi women aged ${\geq}18$ years (n=781) attending the educational components of the campaign were invited to a personal interview. Data collection included gathering information about sociodemographics, family history of BC, the perceived personal risk for BC, awareness and attitude towards BC genes and the women's interest in BC genes testing. Results: Of the included women (n=599), 19.5% perceived higher risk for BC development, significantly more among < 40 years of age, and with positive family history of BC before 50 years of age. The participants demonstrated a poor level of awareness regarding the inheritance, risk, and availability of BC genetic testing. The median summated knowledge score was 1.0 (out of 7 points) with a knowledge deficit of 87.8%. The level of knowledge showed significant decline with age (> 40 years). Of the included women 54.7% expressed an interest in BC genetic testing for assessing their BC risk. Multivariate regression model showed that being middle aged (Odds Ratio 'OR'=1.88, confidence intervals 'C.I'=1.14-3.11), with higher knowledge level (OR=1.67, C.I=1.08-2.57) and perceiving higher risk for BC (OR=2.11, C.I=1.61-2.76) were the significant positive correlates for Saudi women interest in BC genetic testing. Conclusion: Saudi women express high interest in genetic testing for BC risk despite their poor awareness. This great interest may reflect the presence of inappropriate information regarding BC genetic testing and its role in risk analysis.


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