"We are trying to understand whether a genetic test result adds value over and above what can be achieved by patient counseling alone," said study co-author Lisa G. Aspinwall, PhD, HCI researcher and professor of psychology at the U of U. "A genetic test result is concrete and highly personalized. We thought this would be more motivating for difficult behavior change than information about risk based on family history alone."
The Utah Behavior, Risk Information, Genealogy, and Health Trial (BRIGHT) study focused on families with a high risk of melanoma. Individuals enrolling in the study had three or more family members diagnosed with melanoma. Participants between the ages of 16-70 were recruited from melanoma-prone families of two types: families with a known cancer-causing gene called CDKN2A and families with comparably high rates of melanoma but no identified CDKN2A mutation. Researchers at the U of U previously discovered that individuals who carry an inherited mutation in the CDKN2A gene are rare, but those individuals have a risk of up to 76 percent of developing melanoma in their lifetime. Co-author Sancy Leachman, MD, PhD, director of the melanoma research program at Knight Cancer Institute and professor of dermatology at OHSU, explains, "All melanoma has a strong genetic component, but individuals with a strong family history are at extremely high risk. They are ideal candidates for prevention and early detection measures. Making a few relatively simple changes could save their lives."
Participant - Counseling - Counselor - HCI - Sessions
Each participant received individual counseling from a licensed genetic counselor at HCI. These sessions consisted of a review of family medical history and education about melanoma risk factors, including exposure to environmental ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and genetic predisposition. Participants also received pretest counseling and basic information about melanoma and genetic testing. Members of families known to carry the CDKN2A mutation then were assessed through...
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