Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 457–468 | Cite as

Health Beliefs and Behaviors of Women Who Have Received Genetic Counseling For Breast Cancer

  • Gwyneth ReesEmail author
  • Clara Gaff
  • Mary-Anne Young
  • Paul R. Martin
Original Article

There are both genetic and behavioral risk factors for breast cancer, but the interaction between these factors is not clear. Little is known about the impact of receiving genetic risk information for breast cancer on behaviors such as diet and physical activity. Seven focus groups were conducted with 23 women who had recently received genetic counseling for breast cancer, in order to explore health beliefs and behaviors following genetic counseling. Findings revealed that there was much confusion and uncertainty about the associations between health behaviors and breast cancer risk, and participants reported that receiving genetic counseling had little impact on health protective behaviors. Further research is required to understand variation in response to genetic risk information, and to assess the impact of providing additional information regarding lifestyle factors.


breast cancer genetic counseling health behaviors health beliefs qualitative lifestyle risk 



Thanks to Donna Milne and Cathie Pigott for helping in running the groups, and to Lena Hartley, Rebecca D’Souza and Leone Fabre for organising recruitment. Many thanks also to all the participants who shared their views with us.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gwyneth Rees
    • 1
    • 7
    Email author
  • Clara Gaff
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Mary-Anne Young
    • 5
  • Paul R. Martin
    • 6
  1. 1.Centre for Eye Research AustraliaUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Familial Cancer CentreRoyal Melbourne HospitalMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Genetic Health Services VictoriaMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Institute of Medical GeneticsCardiff UniversityCardiffUK
  5. 5.Familial Cancer Centre, Peter MacCallum Cancer InstituteMelbourneAustralia
  6. 6.Monash University, Monash Medical CentreClaytonAustralia
  7. 7.Centre for Eye Research AustraliaUniversity of MelbourneEast MelbourneAustralia

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