Genetic Counseling Program

Untitled Document

A Comparison of African American and Caucasian Women: With Whom They Share BRCA1/2 Genetic Testing Results and Why.  By Kacey Platky

Introduction:  Breast cancer is the most common cancer among African American women, and is the second leading cause of cancer death in this population. While the prevalence of breast cancer is higher among Caucasian women, African American women have a higher mortality rate. Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes cause approximately 5-10% of breast cancers, with similar prevalence rates in both populations. Open family communication is critical for women undergoing testing for these mutations because they, not physicians, are responsible for communicating results of the test to relatives, who may also be at risk and thus benefit from results.  Methods:  In this study, we compared a population of African Americans and Caucasians with regard to what relatives they inform of their BRCA1/2 mutation status. Results:  Our findings indicate that African Americans are less likely to inform male relatives of their test results than Caucasians. Respondents from both groups reported that they were more likely to share test results with a female relative to inform her of her risk, and more likely to share with a male relative out of a “sense of duty.” The most common reasons for not sharing with a relative are that the relative is too young or that the relative is male.  Conclusion:  Given these results, genetic counselors should continue to emphasize risk to family members and the need to share results, especially when talking to African American women in regard to their male relatives.

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  • "I chose to attend UNCG because of its shared learning environment and the access to some of the leading institutions in the country. "



  • "UNCG is a great fit for me. The program directors have extensive experience in the world of genetic counseling and provide you with opportunities to work with some of the best medical centers in the country. Our location allows us to have expert guest lecturers, many of whom you also get to work alongside or observe in your clinical rotations in your second year. We also have some really wonderful and unique opportunities as a part of this program: we observe in syndrome specific support groups and clinics, tour genetic laboratories, and are matched with a family with a genetic disease to learn what it is like to live with a genetic condition. Finally, our directors are genuinely invested in each of us, and care about our success and getting to know each of us personally."




  • "The director and assistant director do their best to ensure that our program provides a collaborative learning experience.  Both are active members of the Genetic Counseling community and strive to introduce you to all aspects of this field.  We also have renowned clinical sites and the beautiful state of North Carolina at our disposal.”