"Public understanding of cancer genetics - assessing knowledge and attitudes to inform a policy for testing"

Research objectives

The rapid technological advances of the 1990's are likely to lead to the possibility of genetic screening for common cancers. This will undoubtedly increase the demand for care in general practice for information about risk and the need for testing. The study aims:

1) To assess by qualitative in-depth interviews public knowledge and understanding of cancer genetics and the public's desire for genetic information and screening programmes, including an assessment of the factors predicting the ways in which perceptions of risk may be acted on by individuals and within families.

2) To develop and validate a questionnaire which could be used by purchasers to assess the attitudes to, knowledge of and potential demand for screening common cancers. Depth interviews will be undertaken with individuals at low and high risk for breast/ovarian, colorectal and prostate cancer and will cover a variety of issues concerning heredity in general and cancer in particular. Information provided by the depth interviews will be used as the basis for the development of a questionnaire. The questionnaire will be fully tested and validated by administering it to a sample of 150 individuals.

For further information contact:

Professor Debbie Sharp
Professor of Primary Health Care
University of Bristol
Canynge Hall
Whiteladies Road
Bristol        BS8 2PR

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Last updated 22 November 2004
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