Gender disparity observed in cancer genetic testing in the U.S.

Gender disparity observed in cancer genetic testing in the U.S.
(HealthDay)—Specific demographic groups have lower cancer genetic testing, including unaffected men compared with unaffected women, according to a research letter published online April 26 in JAMA Oncology.

Kimberly K. Childers, from Providence Health & Services Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues described the U.S. national distribution of genetic testing for hereditary risk and examined whether a exists in testing. Data were obtained from the 2015 U.S. National Health Interview Survey.

The researchers found that 378 adults reported a history of genetic testing for cancer, representing 2,498,842 people. In the testing subsample, there was a lower proportion of Hispanics (10 versus 16 percent), uninsured individuals (2 versus 10 percent), noncitizens (4 versus 8 percent), and those with less education (high school or General Education Development diploma: 30 versus 44 percent). Many more women than men received testing (73 versus 27 percent); this disparity persisted for unaffected men versus unaffected women (rate ratio, 0.51). Genetic testing was mainly for breast/ovarian cancer (76 percent), with 24 percent for colorectal cancer and 22 percent for other cancers. Among the unaffected, the rate of testing for breast/ovarian cancer for men was one-tenth of that for women (rate ratio, 0.1). No gender disparity was seen for colorectal or other cancer testing.

"Cancer seems to reach a broad geographic and sociodemographic population in this national survey. However, there remain underrepresented groups," the authors write.


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