Web-Based Aids for BRCA Testing

Research Type: 

Cancer Genetics


Over 200,000 women in the US were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, and a significant subset of these cases (5-10%) are attributable to mutations in either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. Given the rapid discovery of such cancer susceptibility genes and the relative lack of specialty providers, there is a need for empirically validated methods of facilitating genetic counseling for hereditary cancer syndromes. It is important that those at risk for hereditary cancer syndromes have the resources available to become educated about cancer genetics, and that they make well informed decisions about seeking further evaluation by a specialized cancer health professional.

Study Aims

The goal of this study is to develop a Web-based, tailored decision aid for women at risk for breast and ovarian cancer. This study builds upon prior work that found multiple benefits of using a CD-ROM to educate women considering BRCA 1/2 genetic testing. We will extend this research by refining our existing educational materials and offering them in an interactive website featuring greater tailoring of health communications and personalization of risk information. Women will be able to learn about breast cancer genetics by visiting the website, and they will be able to use the Breast Cancer Risk Screening Tool to calculate their level of breast cancer risk. We hypothesize that this tailored risk information and education about breast cancer genetics, delivered in an efficient and attractive format, will increase knowledge and decisional satisfaction among women considering genetic testing.

Funding Source

The Web-based Aids for BRCA Testing study is funded through a grant from the Center for Health Communications Research.

Key Personnel

J. Scott Roberts, Ph.D., Principal Investigator

Lindsay Zausmer, B.A., Study Coordinator 

Sofia Merajver, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Investigator

Kara Milliron, M.S., C.G.C., Genetic Counselor