Awareness and acceptability of population-based screening for pathogenic BRCA variants: Do race and ethnicity matter?


To evaluate awareness and acceptability of population-based BRCA testing among an unselected population of women presenting for annual gynecologic health assessment, with secondary objective to determine if a racial disparity exists in acceptability and awareness of this screening strategy.


Women presenting for routine gynecologic care in an outpatient setting of a single academic institution were anonymously surveyed. Survey collected age, self-identified race and ethnicity, education level, personal and family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer (BOC), awareness and interest, and willingness to pay out of pocket for testing. Responses were compared with bivariate and multivariate analysis.


Interest in testing was expressed in 150 of 301 (45.1%) of participants. Women with a family history of BOC were more likely to be interested in testing than those without (OR = 1.9 (1.0-3.6)). Interest in testing was associated willingness to pay (OR = 3.3 (1.7-6.4)). Higher education level was associated with awareness of testing (OR = 9.9 (2.0-49.7)). Interest in testing was similar between racial groups, but awareness and willingness to pay for testing were higher among White women. Multivariate analysis with adjustment for education level confirmed that Black and Hispanic women were less likely to have awareness of genetic testing compared to White women and non-Hispanic Women, respectively (OR = 0.11 (0.05-0.3); OR = 0.10 (0.01-0.8)).


Interest in genetic testing among women in the general population is high. Despite interest, awareness of BRCA is poor among Black and Hispanic women even when adjusting for education level.